It’s been an interesting 12 weeks for Mariners outfielder Braden Bishop, who has finally worked his way back up to Triple-A with the Tacoma Rainiers.
The University of Washington product had just gotten his MLB career started before it was halted by a lacerated spleen that almost ended his career.
“Quitting comes on your mind, for sure, because you ask yourself, ‘do I want to do this?’” Bishop said. “Like this is serious, I almost lost my career. I just realized how fragile your career is and worked on trying to take each day as it comes.”
Bishop had played just 10 games for the Seattle Mariners in two separate stints, in which he recorded just two hits in 24 at-bats, before getting hit by a pitch to the spleen area in early June. But Bishop has worked his way back and after seven games in Double-A Modesto, Bishop is back where he started the year with the Rainiers.
“Physically I feel 100 percent,” Bishop said. “In terms of getting in the flow of the game I’m getting close, but obviously missing 10 weeks and coming back at higher levels is tough. More than anything it’s just going to be mentally sticking with it and just knowing I’m going to fail.”
Failure comes in any pro athletes’ career, but sometimes it’s tough to realize that when you’re in the thick of it. While he was recovering, Bishop worked on picking up how other guys in the Mariners’ clubhouse dealt with failure, taking on an observer role that’d he never really experienced before.
“I could see the adjustments the guys were making pitch to pitch, and I could see how guys dealt with failure,” Bishop said. “I always feel like I’m the only one striking out but everybody does it, you know, everyone makes outs. So it was interesting to see how guys dealt with it. It helps me view it from an outsider’s perspective where I’m not so caught up in myself.”
Through watching his teammates and recovering with the support of his family and friends, Bishop has made his way to Triple-A with the hopes of getting another shot at his MLB career going.
“We’ll have him on a progression and get him back going to where we feel like there’s nothing wrong,” Rainiers manager Daren Brown said. “It’s basically like going through spring training again, you know, seeing pitches again, reads in the outfield, you know, try to get him back as close as we can get him before we activate him.”
While others on the outside looking in have already made snap judgements about Bishop’s career in Seattle, the 25-year-old, after several weeks away from the field and with a lot of time to think, has come to a different conclusion.
“As much as from the outside looking in, you’d say, ‘Wow, he might’ve lost his opportunity,’ I saw it as a totally different opportunity,” Bishop said. “I wanted to make a difference in different ways, and I thought I did a good job with that and I’m just excited to go back on the field now.”
Bishop may not be exactly where he wants to be, but after a life-altering and perspective-changing injury, Bishop is adopting some old techniques to perform his best while he’s with Tacoma once again. And as the season winds down, Bishop is going to perform his best if he is comfortable where he is.
“I’m always better, on and off the field, when I just embrace where I’m at,” Bishop said. “I think that regardless of my results on the field, I can control that. We’ve always got places we want to be, but in a realistic time frame you have an idea when that could be but you don’t know for sure. But what I do know is the here and now.”