Senior right-hander Aaron Greenwood logged the most innings of any returning pitcher from 2013.
Feb. 11, 2014
by Wesley Boock
Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations Student Assistant
OXFORD, Miss. -- The 2014 season will be the first time in four years that Ole Miss will not be able to call on the school’s all time saves leader in Brett Huber (38 saves), nor will they have the luxury of Tanner Bailey’s versatility out of the bullpen. Senior Aaron Greenwood was an important cog for the Rebels out of the bullpen last year as primarily a middle reliever.
The 6-4, 206 pound right-hander will again be one of the Rebels’ most important arms out of the bullpen this season. Known for his inning-eating ability, Greenwood’s role comes with having one of the toughest assignments on the team as a reliever.
“It is a tough spot when you come in to face usually the other team’s best hitters with runners on base,” said the Lewisberg, Miss., native. “It is a big role, but I love the pressure situations. I have fun doing it.”
However, to be as successful as Greenwood has, one must exude extreme mental toughness. Due to the high-level of stress and importance of each pitch a reliever faces, it is vital to ensure one is fully prepared physically as well as mentally.
“We have our mental routines and Brian Cain (Peak Performance Coach/Motivational Speaker) helps with every pitcher specifically,” Greenwood said. “For me, it starts in the bullpen and just getting prepared to go out there and get the job done.”
Last season, Greenwood led the Ole Miss bullpen with a career-high 50.2 innings pitched in 27 appearances. Additionally, he boasted an exceptional 2.66 ERA, along with an outstanding strikeout/walk ratio with 43 K’s versus only 10 BB’s. Meanwhile, Greenwood has taken the necessary steps to carry another hefty load this year.
“It was kind of tough on my arm, so I didn’t play anywhere this summer,” Greenwood said of his workload. “Coach (Carl) Lafferty went and got us a new throwing program with weighted balls to help us recover quicker and decrease our level of fatigue after throwing. Last year I got so fatigued late, and this new program is helping to make sure I don’t repeat that.”
The extra rest should greatly benefit Greenwood’s arm as he can concentrate solely on conditioning himself to be an even more effective and durable arm for the Rebel bullpen. Greenwood is also hoping this year that the team can bring something special to the Ole Miss Rebel fans.
“Omaha is always our goal, but it has also been four years since we have won the Southeastern Conference,” he said. “We want to bring that back to Oxford and Ole Miss.”
Despite losing Huber and Bailey to graduation, Greenwood is confident in his current team’s abilities.
“It is always a jump when you lose guys that were so valuable, but every year someone else steps up and that is how it is going to be,” Greenwood said. “It gives us extra motivation; we will be alright.”
With the loss of two key pieces from the Rebel bullpen from a season ago, the Rebels’ success will be highly contingent on Greenwood’s effectiveness and longevity throughout the season.
Ole Miss opens the 2014 season with a three-game series at Stetson on February 14 with a 5:30 p.m. CT first pitch.