Hot Rods pitcher Nathan Wiles’ journey back to the mound comes full circle

Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 8:57 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - When Nathan Wiles is dealing, he says he’s dealing.

“I’ll definitely throw a heater right off the bat and then I’ll throw anything else in the zone. Basically, I’ll do anything that will get you out,” Wiles said with a confident grin.

Wiles started building her confidence with the Oklahoma Sooners before being drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 8th round of the 2019 MLB Draft. He pitched for High-A Hudson Valley before landing himself with the Perth Heat of the Australian Baseball League in the winter of 2020.

For Wiles’, the change in weather was very noticeable to say the least.

“It was a change for sure it was it was quite a bit different from what I’m used to. They got something really good over there. And it was it was a it was a blast to play in,” he said.

However, the mood would quickly shift after hearing three dreaded words no pitcher wants to hear: Tommy John Surgery.

Wiles did the operation in March 2021 to repair an Ulnar Collateral Ligament, prematurely ending his time pitching in Australia.

“It was kind of difficult, but at the same time, I’m used to handling any sort of adversity that I find myself and after rehabbing.”

Keeping true to those words, he spent the next year rehabbing down in Florida. After being with Charleston for a brief stint, he was assigned to the Hot Rods, much to the excitement of manager Jeff Smith.

“To see where he’s come from. You know, it says a lot about a kid and I think sky’s the limit,” Smith said. “You’re in the mindset of ‘This is going to be a rehab out, and this is going to be a rehab out, and this is gonna be rehab, and then all sudden, it clicks. You know what, now I’m back to competing’,” Smith said.

He’s pitched 44 innings, throwing for a 3.86 ERA and 34 strikeouts this season. With all of that heat though, he says he’s taking a mild approach.

“Things are falling into place. Right now I’m where I want to be,” Wiles said. “You have to take it just a day at a time and everything will everything will work itself out.”

Even his skipper agrees that the best is yet to come.

“Next year we’re really gonna see see this young man, really take off.”

Copyright 2022 WBKO. All rights reserved.