Change-upPublished 1:55pm Saturday, April 27, 2013
A professional baseball player with Atmore ties is finding success again on the mound after recovering from an injury.
Wes Mugarian, a pitcher with the Dayton Dragons, a Cincinnati Reds’ Class A affiliate and the son of Atmore native Caroline Drew Mugarian, said he has fully recovered from 2010 hip surgery and plans to get back to form this year.
“Last year I didn’t feel 100 percent confident because of the injury,” Mugarian said. “It feels great now. It’s 100 percent.”
The former fifth-round draft pick of the Reds said he is also embracing a change from starter to reliever. He said the change is a better fit for his personality.
“I like it a lot more,” he said of the change this season. “I can be a lot more aggressive.”
In five appearances this season for the Dragons, Mugarian has a 2.45 earned run average and 16 strikeouts over a 14.2 inning stretch.
Two years ago Mugarian was invited to teach at a baseball camp sponsored by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians. At the camp, the 21-year-old instructed players mostly between the ages of 8 and 12 on proper pitching techniques as well as how to throw a fastball and changeup.
The camp is something Mugarian said he now looks forward to every January.
“It’s a great thing,” he said of the camp. “It’s grown and it’s a great facility.”
The grandson of the late Mildred and Julian Drew and nephew of Richard Drew, Mugarian, a Pensacola, Fla. native would visit family often as a child and enjoys the time he spends here now, said Caroline Drew Mugarian.
“He loves doing it,” she said of the camp. “He does clinics in his off time.”
The 2010 graduate of Pensacola Catholic said he loved coming to the area to play Northview each year and perform in front of family.
“It was great; Northview was in the district and my uncle came to a lot of games,” he said. “It was nice seeing him there.”
The 185-pound ri
ght-hander was recruited by the University of Alabama and committed to the Crimson Tide before deciding to sign with the Reds organization in July 2010.
He said he chose to go straight to professional baseball to avoid overuse of his arm in the college game. His goal now is to pitch in the big leagues.
“I want to play in the big leagues and stay there,” Mugarian said. “I want to pitch in the big leagues for a long time.”
Caroline Mugarian said she and her husband John are their son’s biggest fans and she is looking forward to a Mother’s Day trip to Dayton to watch him play.
“We’re so proud of him and he’s doing so well,” she said. “John and I have become his groupies.”