Truthfully, there were a few points during my rehab when I thought that I would not be able to pitch again this season. It has been such a physical and mental grind this year. But since the end of August, I have been able to get back on the field and even start a few games with the team before the season ends.
This was really important to me. Not having the chance to pitch in a game since April, it was physically really hard to get back on the mound. With all the adrenaline pumping, I found myself really sore after each inning, but I’m starting to feel better each time I’m up there.
My offseason plans were really up in the air for a while. After missing four months of the season, unable to pitch that entire time, I didn’t know what was going to happen. But I’ve been invited to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic for a few weeks in October, and then in November I’m headed to Japan to play in the All-Star Series. Being invited by the MLB to be a part of this team, even only after having a handful of starts this season, has been an incredible honor. In fact, it’s a total God-thing. He put this opportunity in front of me and I’m so honored to be a part of it!
This team will consist of All-Stars from the MLB — big name guys and major league veterans who have made a name for themselves. It’s a big deal! I know it’s going to be an awesome experience to learn from and be around players of this caliber, but it’s also going to be a ton of fun. When I was with the Blue Jays, and now with the Tigers, I’ve had the incredible experience of being around some of the top players in the league. Now meeting players of the same level from other teams will be really cool. I have a lot to learn!
I love to travel. In the offseason, I travel a lot, whether in the States or outside. Going to Japan will be a first for me. Going to Hawaii for four days for our mini “spring training” will also be a first, and I hope to get some time to catch a few waves while I’m there. I’m excited to see new cultures and new people.
This season has taught me a lot of patience. At the end of the day, I’m able to pitch again and I’m so thankful. But like I mentioned, there were many moments when I thought I might not pitch again this year. There were times when I would feel really good and think I was improving, only to have a setback the very next day. Fast forward to now, I’m able to pitch again and feel good. I even notice my velocity is picking up — higher than pre-surgery. I feel better than ever, but I had to be patient. As I go to winter ball and then the All-Star Series, I am able to really prepare well for next year.
God knows what He’s doing, even when I can’t see His plan for me. This year — these opportunities — are part of it all. They are gifts from Him.
— Daniel Norris, Detroit Tigers pitcher
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.