Ahead of Schedule


It might still be early, but Erik Sabrowski is exceeding expectations in restarting his professional baseball journey.

Following his second Tommy John surgery since 2018, the Edmonton-area product was hoping to make his debut in the Cleveland Guardians system sometime in late-June or early-July.

Much to the delight of his teammates, friends, family and those who have known Sabrowski, there he was on May 23rd, recording a strikeout in extended spring training action.

A week later, he had officially graduated from rehabilitation and was assigned to the Double-A Akron RubberDucks.

The southpaw has since made three appearances out of the bullpen, allowing just one hit and four walks while striking out seven in just four innings of work.

More importantly, for the first time in a long time, he’s starting to feel like himself again.

“I feel great – best shape of my life,” Sabrowski told RubberDucks broadcaster Marco LaNave. “I know it’s very cliché, but my elbow hasn’t felt like this since high school.”

He says he’s grateful to be feeling good again, having success and having the opportunity to continue his professional baseball dream.


A 14th round selection of the San Diego Padres in 2018, Sabrowski came highly touted from Cloud Community College, where he was racking up the strikeouts.

But within just a few months, he was under the knife for the first time, setting off a chain reaction of events that saw him make eight dominant appearances for the High-A Fort Wayne TinCaps in 2021, only to need the second surgery.

With hindsight being 20/20, Sabrowski admits he didn’t know if he wanted to go through it all again.

Eventually, he says he sat down with those closest to him, including his family and Absolute Human Performance coach Taylor Burns, to determine the best course of action.

“I put all that work into getting the surgery the first time and going through the rehab,” said Sabrowski, who was picked up by the Cleveland Guardians in the 2021 Rule 5 Draft.

“I thought I owed it to myself to try this thing again.”

Making the decision a little easier was the fact that he had success in Fort Wayne, albeit for a short time.

“Maybe if the ball hadn’t gone my way, maybe I would have been here,” Sabrowski added. “Being here (in Akron) now, I’m glad I went through it all again and I wouldn’t change it.”


As weird as it sounds, Sabrowski says having the extra time off might have actually been a good thing as he learned a lot about getting his body in shape and his mind right.

He also spent a lot of time getting to know the technology that is now involved in pitching, so he could learn what his strengths were and use them to his advantage.

“I didn’t realize why my fastball was so effective but now I do,” Sabrowski said. “Same with the curveball and how they work off each other.”

He also realizes how he’s become more of a pitcher than a thrower, something he believes he was in college by just blowing pitches by hitters and not having to worry about making mistakes.

Now, he says, hitters are able to tag him for those mistakes, which has made him more aware of the finesse aspect of his arsenal, which includes a fastball, curveball, slider and the odd changeup.

Instead of viewing his rehab as time away from the game, the Edmonton Prospects alum now looks at it through a different lens.

“Really, it was 15 months to get better at baseball,” Sabrowski said. “I’d like to think I used that time to get better at baseball.”


Happy to finally be on the hill again in professional baseball, Sabrowski says he’s able to enjoy some of the nuances of the game again, like the friendships and roadtrips.

Hopefully, the AHP Academy pitching coach has put the health issues behind him and he can start focusing on rising up the depth chart with the Guardians, which looks to include pitching more out of the bullpen.

Growing up, he was always a starter, so making more relief appearances is something he’s still getting comfortable with.

“For me, it’s learning how to be available four out of six nights during a series and pitching three times a week,” Sabrowski said. “Just learning how to make sure I’m feeling as best as I can every day.”

He will have the eyes of his family and close friends on him with every appearance, as the hope is he will one day crack the big-league lineup.

“To say I’m proud of and happy for Erik is a massive understatement,” tweeted Burns. “True testament to his grit, positivity, relentlessness and work ethic – can’t wait to watch you pitch.”

A whole province couldn’t agree more.


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