Dreyer set to return for Hawkeyes after shoulder injury

The Iowa baseball team lost a key pitcher when Jack Dreyer was shut down with an injured shoulder last season. Now, he’s healthy and is ready to anchor Iowa’s rotation.

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Dreyer set to return for Hawkeyes after shoulder injury

Iowa pitcher Jack Dreyer speaks to members of the press during baseball media day in the UI recreation building on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa pitcher Jack Dreyer speaks to members of the press during baseball media day in the UI recreation building on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan)

Katie Goodale

Iowa pitcher Jack Dreyer speaks to members of the press during baseball media day in the UI recreation building on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan)

Katie Goodale

Katie Goodale

Iowa pitcher Jack Dreyer speaks to members of the press during baseball media day in the UI recreation building on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (Katie Goodale/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Sports Editor

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Sometimes a season ends before it even has a chance to get going. That was the case for Jack Dreyer last season.

Iowa baseball’s premier left-handed pitcher only appeared in 7.1 innings last season before being shut down for the remainder of the year with a shoulder injury.

Dreyer is back to being healthy and ready to take the ball to begin the 2020 campaign.

“[Dreyer’s] in a great spot right now,” Iowa head coach Rick Heller said. “It’s better than it was at any point prior to this. He’s strong, he’s healthy, he’s confident. He’s pitching really well right now every time that we’ve done our live sets.”

A shoulder injury is always something that’s tough to come back from — especially for a pitcher.

Iowa’s southpaw went through an extensive training program after his injury to ensure he’d be ready to go for Opening Day.

“My rehab process was pretty elaborate over the offseason,” Dreyer said. “I’ve continued to do certain stretches, work on flexibility, things like that. In the offseason when you’re rehabbing, you’re alone. Nobody is there checking up on you or anything like that. It’s just on you that you’re getting the work in that you need to do, and that down the road that’s going to work out for you.”

Before his injury last season, Dreyer was slotted in as Iowa’s Saturday starter. After pitcher Cole McDonald graduated following last season, Dreyer is likely to be the Friday night starter for the Hawkeyes to begin the season.

McDonald was a team captain for the Hawkeyes last season and finished fifth in program history with 203 strikeouts. With Dreyer returning fully healthy, it’s his turn to be at the top of the Iowa rotation.

“Dreyer’s got elite stuff,” Iowa catcher Austin Martin said. “To have him back on our staff this year is definitely a plus. Just another guy in our rotation. We have all of our guys from last year back, except for Cole McDonald. I think Jack will definitely step into that role that Cole held last year.”

Being out for almost the entirety of last season gave Dreyer a different perspective on the game.

Instead of being caught up in the heat of the action, Dreyer could sit back and observe what was happening around him.

“When you’re not playing, you kind of have a backseat and can watch what other guys are doing right or maybe doing wrong,” Dreyer said. “Last year, we had a lot of great leaders telling us what’s right and what’s wrong. I was really able to take a closer look at what they meant by that stuff. I think that kind of helps prepare me for what’s expected of me this season.”

Beyond just missing being out on the diamond, Dreyer wants to get back to being with the team.

An injury obviously takes a physical toll on a player. What sometimes goes unnoticed is how it can remove a player from their teammates.

“I’m most excited just to be traveling with the team again,” Dreyer said. “I missed out on last year, not getting to travel. The team element. You’re on a baseball team, but if you’re not traveling you really miss out on that team aspect. I’m excited to get back to doing that again.”

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