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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Junior pitcher Andrew Armstrong is one happy camper. After not knowing if he’d ever pitch again, this Bridgewater, Va., native and a lover of the outdoors is back pitching for the Buckeyes after missing last season recovering from a shoulder surgery in 2009. Armstrong’s arm is alive and well, and the Big Ten’s leader in relief appearances shared some thoughts recently on where he’s been and where he is going.

I don’t want to relive sitting out last year.  I would not wish that surgery, that rehab or that recovery on any person. I was told the injury was like a death sentence. I had to live with that all last year. Last season left a sore taste and I got lost from baseball for a year.

I’d say my arm feels as if it is 100 percent. Before I had surgery, there would be times just throwing a bullpen when my shoulder and elbow would be tight or sore the next day. Now, it doesn’t matter what I do. Our everyday throwing program allows me to throw 25 pitches a day every day if I wanted, and my arm wouldn’t hurt.

I’m a different pitcher today. I have a different role. I am a better reliever now than I was a starter then.

The mental approach to being a reliever is one of the hardest things I’ve had to figure out. You can’t be too high or too low being a reliever. You have to build on each performance…good or bad. I have to be focused as soon as my name is called. I only have one shot – one or two innings – to do something. I don’t have seven innings anymore.

I like competing. I like everything about competing. I like you vs. the other person.

I’m always going to try and beat you. It doesn’t matter what I’m playing. So when I get out on the baseball field my whole focus is on competing and winning.

I’ve learned to be a harder worker under this coaching staff. They have taught me to take ownership for myself and to be a leader. They really emphasize if you do what you are supposed to do than we will always have each other’s backs.

I’m majoring in agricultural business. I don’t know what I’m going to do if baseball doesn’t work out, but when I get a job, I want to work outside. I can’t work behind a desk. I just want to be outside.

I love being outside. Any type of hunting is fun. Being in the woods – hunting, four-wheeling, even playing golf – is fun.

I don’t really like to fish, though.Fishing isn’t like hunting. How do you control what the fish want to do, or want to eat? I just like hunting.

The ultimate job besides baseball would be as a pro hunter or a guide.Being a pro guide or pro hunter on TV would be the sweetest job in America. You are outside and you get all kinds of free stuff.

I am happy today. I’m in a great place.

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