INJURY is one thing all sports stars fear and in baseball shoulder or elbow injuries are common trends due to the high forces involved.
Canberra Elite Cavalry pitcher Timothy Atherton is no stranger to this problem and thought his baseball career was over when he underwent shoulder surgery in October 2015, missing out on the 15/16 Australian Baseball League season.
"I am trying to get back into professional baseball after my injury," Tim said.
"When you're hurt, especially in your free agent year, no one wants to take a gamble on you."
According to Canberra Cavalry CEO, Donn McMichael, Tim has proven himself to be a formidable figure in the Cavalry line up.
"Tim is no gamble to us and we are keen to have him back on the mound," Donn said.
"We take our players health seriously and we want to help Tim not only return to playing baseball at the level he has previously but also to look after his arm."
Before Tim sustained his injury he went 6-2 with a 3.56 ERA in the 15/16 season for the Cavalry. This season, Tim is looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead of him and is hoping to improve on his performance.
"You never go into a season wanting to lose, so I want the Cavs to take out the title and I want to be a part of that," Tim said.
"Personally, I want to make the Australian team and represent Australia at the World Baseball Classic and I know the Cavs is the place to help me achieve this."
In 2007 Tim signed as a Minor League free agent with the Minnesota Twins. He was a 'rule five' draftee by the Oakland Athletics and saw the remaining two years of that contract with Oakland going 6-3 with a 5.64 ERA.
"I also want to re-sign another professional contract either in America or in one of the Asian Leagues," Tim said.
As a Wollongong local, Tim is also excited for the Australian Baseball League Wollongong Classic that will see Canberra Cavalry and the Sydney Blue Sox compete in Illawarra.
"It's going to be awesome and it's great for baseball," Tim said.
"The Gong is like Canberra, the town really gets behind sport."
"It is a great chance for the region to see some of Australia's best baseball players in a local setting."
"Personally, I can't wait to play in front for my family and friends in my hometown but in the end, you can't get much more of a rivalry then the Cavs and Blue Sox."
Tim, who grew up in Kempsey, now calls Wollongong home and will travel to Canberra regularly to balance his family, work and baseball career over the next few months.
"I had to weigh up my options this season but there was no doubt I would come back to play for the Cavs," Tim said.
"Canberra has the best playing field and the best fans in the league, so there was no question in my mind."
Tim will be one Canberra Cavalry player to watch this season. Not only will his return to the mound following his long recovery be critical but it will set the conditions for his future goals to once again represent Australia and return to professional baseball in America.
The Cavalry get their 2016/17 ABL campaign underway on the 17th of November in Brisbane against defending champions, the Brisbane Bandits proudly presented by WellDog.