A.J. Battisto is the kind of baseball player that understands the process. The reliever has been in the Marlins system for three years, after being drafted out of Georgia Southern in 2007. This year at Jacksonville, he's had to exhibit his admirable patience and faith again.
If ever there was a player who looked for the bright side during the down side of baseball, it's the 25-year-old now recovering from rotator cuff surgery.
"The positive thing about being injured, is that I'm able to attend church here in Jupiter," he said. "It's a great church. [The people in it] have really helped my spiritual growth.
Battisto started the season with the Double-A Jacksonville Suns where he struggled, posting a 12.15 ERA in six innings. But he fared better after being promoted to Triple-A New Orleans, where he had a 6.00 ERA. But his health has been a major factor this season.
"When the season started in April, I was fine. My first outing I didn't do well, but I felt fine. Three days after that I got sent to Triple-A. I threw there and felt fine."
Nine days later he was sent back to Jacksonville and it was there that everything changed.
"I was practicing my cutter with my pitching coach and I threw one of them incorrectly," he said. "Something popped in my shoulder. Funny thing is it didn't hurt so I continued to throw. The next day it was sore, but nothing I hadn't felt before. Everyday after that it got progressively worse."
Finally in May, Battisto knew that he had to face the music. The injury was bad enough that he felt he had to shut it down.
"I told our trainer that I couldn't throw anymore," he said.
After an MRI it was determined he'd need surgery. On June 2nd he had rotator cuff surgery.
Knowing A.J. is knowing a person with deep faith and an unrelenting spirit. He might be out, but he's not down.
"I trust in the Lord fully," he said.
With his extra time he's put that positive energy toward a personal goal.
"The Lord has provided again for my life. I have been trying to receive a scholarship through the University of Phoenix. MLB and MILB run a baseball scholarship and I received a fully-paid scholarship to pursue my Masters in education," he said.
He's close to completing his first course and starts a new course mid-July.
"Everything is good and my head is in the right place," he said.