David Rohm of Lynchburg injured his right big toe last April when he ran into the right-field wall at Salem. The team first thought the outfielder would be sidelined for about two weeks.
The injury proved much more serious than originally thought -- Rohm sat out about six weeks. He made it back, but he never really found his form again as the toe bothered him the rest of the season.
"I got to where I could play last year," Rohm said. "I could get around, but they said it wouldn't heal completely until I got off it."
The injury was officially called "turf toe," the result of a blunt force impact. Rohm made it back to the lineup at the end of May but never really found his way again and finished with a .238 average.
The toe healed in the winter, and the start of the 2013 season has been much better. Rohm had a .345 average through Monday and was ranked third in the Carolina League in hitting.
"Now," the Braves prospect said, "I hardly notice it any more."
Rohm got to play on Lynchburg's Carolina League championship team last year and contributed despite the offensive struggles. He came off the bench for most of the playoffs and had a hand in the Hillcats winning the title.
This year's already a different story. Rohm's off-season rest proved to be a big help. He didn't play winter ball and took six weeks off after the 2012 season to give the toe time to heal. He worked on his hitting in the winter and didn't get on the field for nearly six months. The issue is now closed.
"I do think about it, but I don't think it's going to affect how I go after the ball," Rohm said. "It won't affect how I play."
Rohm's consistency has returned -- he hit .319 and .289 in his first two years in the Minors until last season, and now the 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-handed hitter works hard at hitting in the opposite direction, something the Lynchburg staff has certainly noticed.
"He has the ability to go to right field pretty much any time he wants," Lynchburg hitting coach John Moses said. "We want him to be a complete hitter, with power numbers, and the only way he's going to do that is if he's able to use those hands and hit the ball out in front more. Overall, he's been doing an exceptionally great job."
Rohm said it was frustrating at times dealing with the injury last year, but he learned a lot from watching players on a team that eventually won a championship. Those lessons are helping him this season.
"It's a familiar environment, and it's allowed me to become more comfortable on the field," he said. "It was nice being a part of that [last year] and being around a nice group of guys. It was a good feeling… and we finished on top."
Streak on: Chris Beck of Winstom-Salem has yet to allow an earned run in 18 2/3 innings this season. The 22-year-old right-hander has a 2-1 record, yielding three unearned runs and suffering the loss in his first start April 7. He dominated Wilmington in his most recent outing, scattering four hits and a walk over eight innings.
Tough break: Carolina second baseman Joe Wendle was pounding opposing pitching, posting a league-high .426 average with a homer and 10 RBIs in just 14 games, before suffering a left orbital fracture on April 20.
Timely hitting: Potomac's Jason Martinson is getting his hits at the right time. The 24-year-old shortstop has a league-high 15 RBIs in 17 games and is also tied for the lead with five homers.