Rochester Royals vs Elko Baseball

Rochester Royals pitcher Matt Meyer plays catch before a game against Elko on Tuesda at Mayo Field. Meyer is back with the Royals after pitching just one game the past two seasons. Andrew Link / alink@postbulletin.com

Just when Matt Meyer thought he was going to have some fun playing baseball, it looked like his career was over.

Meyer was a standout for Mayo High School and Boston College before being drafted in 2006. The 6-foot-4, left-handed pitcher spent the next seven seasons playing minor-league baseball and got as far as Triple-AAA, just one step below the Major Leagues. He then spent two more years with the St. Paul Saints, an independent professional team.

After he left pro ball in 2014, Meyer joined the Rochester Royals for a couple seasons of amateur baseball, but his career had a sudden ending in 2017. Meyer pitched just one game that season before a blood clot was discovered in his shoulder. Last year he did not pitch at all, when he had an artery tied off in each of his arms.

"I thought I was done (playing baseball) and going to go about by life," Meyer admitted.

"It was kind of a bummer, kind of an abrupt end," he added. "I wanted to keep playing amateur ball and having fun. It's been so serious my whole life, playing college and pro ball. I was just kind of looking forward to playing the game and let it be more of a fun experience than a pressure experience. ... So getting a second chance has been great."

That second chance came this spring. His arm was once cold to the touch and felt tired. But this year he suddenly felt better and was given permission by his doctor to start throwing. When that proved to be a success, he was given the green light to pitch and joined the Royals once again. 

"It feels good to get back out and compete again," he said. "You miss it."

Meyer is doing more than just throwing on the mound, he has been thriving. Now 34-years-old, he has allowed just one earned run in 28 innings this season. Included was a five-hitter against state power Dundas last Sunday when he threw 140 pitches and struck out 14 in a 6-1 win.

"It's just nice to have him back," Royals player/manager Drew Block said. "He's just picked right up where he left off."

"I think just throwing a lot of strikes," Meyer said of his success. "I've just been pounding the (strike) zone a lot with fastballs. And just being aggressive with all (my) pitches, I think, is a recipe for success and getting them to chase.

"And obviously good defense behind you helps a ton," he added. "It's great when you have a bunch of young kids running around behind you with foot speed and tracking down ground balls for me."

Meyer has helped the Royals get off to a 12-5 start this season prior to Friday night's game against Meisville. The Royals will play in Austin on Sunday against the Greyhounds.

"He has a winning mentality," Block said. "And the players like to play behind him."

Meyer said his goal this year is just to help the Royals earn a bid in the state tournament. After that, he'll take baseball a year at a time.

"We'll see how the body holds up and we'll see how my wife feels about it," he said. The couple has three young children at home, ages 5, 3 and six months.

"I think the body will be a big determining factor out of all of them," he said.

Meyer wants to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even if it doesn't include baseball.

"I'm trying to get a good weightlifting routine and a good throwing program to keep myself healthy," he said. "Not even baseball healthy, but just overall health."

And Meyer, who works in medical device sales, is also happy that he may get to end his career on his own terms.

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Sports Reporter

Guy covers a wide variety of high school, college and professional sports. He is a native of Rochester and has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Guy resides in Byron with his wife, children and numerous pets.