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Take the long way home
After a year off following Tommy John surgery, Kohn back with Angels
CAMDENS MICHAEL KOHN USED his rehabbing from Tommy John surgery to re-invent himself as a major league pitcher. - photo by Photo courtesy of Matt Brown/Angels Baseball LP
It was as gentle a demotion --- if there is such a thing --- as anyone could expect to receive when they were presented with the bad news.As he walked into an office during the middle of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s spring training one day in March, Michael Kohn saw the team’s general manager, Jerry Dipoto, Angels’ manager, Mike Scioscia, and the team’s pitching coach, Mike Butcher, all seated and waiting on his arrival.When he closed the door behind him to enter the room, the 26-year-old Camden native and Camden High graduate sensed what was about to come his way. It did not make hearing the news that he would begin the season with the Angels’ AAA affiliate in Salt Lake City any easier to take.Less than a year removed from having undergone season-ending Tommy John surgery, performed by noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, Kohn knew there was a chance the Angels might want him to get in more innings at the minor league level so that his progress could be more closely monitored in a less pressurized setting. Not to mention, it would allow his right arm to get stronger with a heavier workload than he would receive at the major league level.Rather than being all doom and gloom, the three men surrounding Kohn were upbeat as to the right-handed reliever’s progress.“They sat me down and told me that they were astonished that I had come back this quick and that they had no clue that I was going to be back this quickly,” he said of the meeting.“They said they wanted me to go back down (to Salt Lake City) and get my work done, get some innings under my belt and trust my elbow and see how long it takes before I was healthy.