By Maureen Mullen
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- If not for a childhood mishap, Dennys Reyes might never have become a major league pitcher. At least not a left-handed major league pitcher.
Reyes is a natural righty. He does everything with his right hand except throw a baseball.
When he was a youngster, about 5 or 6 years old, he was playing with his uncle. His uncle was treating the young Reyes to a favorite, and a childhood staple, for most kids being twirled around by his hands till his feet left the ground and he got dizzy. Theyd done it many times before, but this time something went wrong. His right shoulder blade was injured.
It hurt a lot, Reyes said. I was scared to death. When I was a kid, I was living in a small town and we didnt have any doctors.
I was a kid. I loved baseball. I wasnt thinking about anything else.
I practiced with my dad. I got pictures of that. My dad said I always loved to play shortstop. I got pictures of me throwing right-handed.
Once his shoulder healed, Reyes tried to resume playing as a righty, but it was too painful. His father, a first baseman, bought him a glove for his right hand and taught him how to throw with his left. At first, Reyes would take the glove off and try to throw with his right hand.
It was a slow process, he said. It took me a while to learn, but it worked.
The effects of that mishap are still evident. His right shoulder sits noticeably higher than his left.
He can still feel the effects at times.
Yeah, when I catch a ground ball, he said. If its high and I have to jump, it hurts. And when I do certain moves I feel it then.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen