Throwing Program

Baseball Return To Throw Program (with periodic supervision)

Part of the Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists Sports Performance Network


What is it?

Sports and Orthopedic Specialists has established a number of protocols related to an athlete’s return to throwing activities. Many players returning to throwing after injury can progress with our Return To Throw protocol on their own. Some players have unique needs related to their recovery from injury, and their own throwing program may need monitoring and re-adjusting based on their progress and circumstances. Often, these adjustments can be made over the phone or via email. Face-to-face supervision is occasionally advised as the thrower progresses through the program. This program integrates a supervised return to throwing visit with specialized strength and performance training, when applicable. An additional program may be used in conjunction with this program is the Throwing Mechanics Evaluation and Coaching through our Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists Sports Performance Network.

Who needs it?

Not everyone. Many of our throwers returning from injury can progress through our Return To Throw program on their own, within their own baseball community. Some athletes are advised they may need some direct supervision at some point in their throwing program. These athletes benefit from guidance that include throwing-mechanic instruction, return-to-throwing, and exercise assistance depending on their own unique interests or goals. A referral from a physician may occur, though a referral is not required.

What happens at my first appointment?

Our Return to Throw Program starts with a review of your throwing program progression, as well as a physical assessment of the athlete’s overall strengths and weaknesses (with throwing in mind). If physical therapy is not been a part of the athlete’s current program, key exercises may be recommended, and assigned as a home program. A follow-up visit may occur to continue monitoring of the Return to Throw program, but these are sometimes conducted via phone or email. Our first appointment usually takes 60 minutes, with follow-up appointments typically lasting 30 minutes.

You will need to bring your glove!

Will I need more than the first appointment?

Possibly. The Return To Throw program should be performed on an ongoing basis, but follow-up supervision should happen on an as-needed basis. This is determined by the athlete and the staffer, with input at times from the referring medical provider.

What are the costs?

$60 per hour. Payment can be provided in the form of cash, check, or credit/debit card. We will collect payment at the conclusion of your first visit.

Will my insurance cover this?

No. This is considered an ‘elective’ procedure. The vast majority of health plans do not cover exercise prescription, even with a prescription or a referral. We will not bill your health insurance for this service. If you have a Health Savings Account, medically-supervised exercise prescription related to an injury is considered a permissible expenditure, so you can use pre-tax dollars for these services. We can provide you an itemized receipt if you are submitting this to your HSA. It does take 10-14 days to get that receipt mailed to you, after payment is received.

Where does it take place?

We perform these activities at a local sports performance center in Edina. Please contact us directly for additional information regarding all the details of your appointment. This facility does have a liability rule in place stating No Observers can be present in the workout areas of the facility. You will be able to see all throwing activities from behind a glass partition, and our staff will speak thoroughly with you and/or your parents prior to and after the visit.

What do I need to bring?

You will want to be dressed in athletic clothing, including cross-training-type footwear. You will also need to bring your glove. If you have never been seen at any of our clinics, be prepared to fill out a health history form, a demographic form asking for emergency contacts, address, and your health insurance coverage (in case someday you are seen in our clinic).

Will I have work to do on my own on days I’m not working out with Sports and Ortho?

Yes! Your throwing program, throwing mechanical drills, and strength exercises are all important parts of your recovery. Your instructor will help establish what you need to be doing on the days we don’t see you.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Please email to coordinate your first appointment.

About our Staff:

Eric Drake, ATC

Instructor- Baseball Performance. Eric is a full-time athletic trainer working for Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists. He is involved with the development of our throwing-related protocols, including our Return To Throw, Return to Pitch, and UCL management protocols. Eric is also involved in multiple outreach activities, coordinating medical care and events for the Northern Lights Volleyball Club in Burnsville, providing coverage for Lifetime Fitness events, and multiple amateur baseball screenings and clinics. Eric is a graduate of Bethel University, completing his Athletic Training degree in 2005; he also pitched for the Bethel Royals intercollegiate baseball team for four years.

Chris Johnson, ATC

Instructor- Baseball Performance. Chris is an athletic trainer with the Minnesota Twins, in addition to working with Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists in the off-season. He also works with several of our winter youth baseball programs, including the Twins Training Academy. Chris has strong experience working with athletes at the professional and amateur levels, and is heavily involved with Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists’ Return to Throw Program for athletes coming back from shoulder or elbow injuries. He also is involved with the development of other throwing-related protocols, including our Return to Pitch, and UCL management protocols. He has worked full time as a minor league athletic trainer based out of Target Field.