By: Mikael Mogues
Many wouldn’t know Jose Lopez walking around campus. Three years removed from college baseball, his presence is felt most within the Seton Hall Athletics department. Even more so, with him being back to finish getting his degree majoring in Spanish, his presence in the baseball locker room is evident.
What many people don’t know is his road to recovery that followed him after being picked sixth round of the 2014 draft.
In 2014, Lopez had a tear in his UCL, requiring surgery. Lopez said he was sent down to Florida where Dr. James Andrews performed successful “Tommy John“ surgery. The timeline for recovery was about 18 months.
“With his talent level prior to surgery, it wasn’t surprising to see he was going to be chosen, even though he had missed his entire junior year,” Seton Hall head coach Rob Sheppard said.
Like any baseball player, routine is essential and often times explained, as the reason players are successful. Lopez consistently wears an arm sleeve that he stores in the main compartment of his locker.
“Ever since I got back to throwing post op, it was a comfort and a mental thing,” Lopez said. “I did it from the time I started throwing and continue to just out of habit and it feels more protected.”
Seton Hall Baseball has a rich history and players who are loyal to the program. Current players welcome back alum with open arms and want to be surrounded by them. It isn’t hard to see why Lopez has come back and made himself back at home in the locker room.
“The goal of our guys is to play at that level, and to have an opportunity to spend time with a guy who is currently doing it and getting tips and getting an idea of what it means be successful is priceless,” Sheppard said.
The transition from college to pro ball was eye opening for many players who’ve explained the experience. For Lopez, he loves to share these experiences.
“Guys mirage to him when he shows up,” Zach Schellenger, junior pitcher, said. “The pitchers want to pick his brain about pro ball.”