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Published April 15, 2012, 09:57 PM

Bison pitcher named Pitcher of the Week after overcoming injury

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- As a freshman in 2009, Bison pitcher John Straka led the team in nearly ever major stat category. It looked like the start of a promising career. But, while getting prepared for his sophomore season, that career was faced with uncertainty.

By: Jody Norstedt, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- As a freshman in 2009, Bison pitcher John Straka led the team in nearly ever major stat category. It looked like the start of a promising career. But, while getting prepared for his sophomore season, that career was faced with uncertainty.

Heading into his 2nd year with the Bison, John Straka knew his arm wasn't 100 percent. What he didn't know was how bad it really was.

John: "At the time I thought maybe it was just a forearm strain or something like that. It hadn't been officially diagnosed as being completely torn yet. So, I was trying to go out there and throw. Then our team Doctor, Doctor Piatt came down to the bullpen and told me that I needed to stop throwing right then because I had to get surgery."

He would undergo Tommy John's surgery, and spent the next 9 months resting and rehabbing his arm.

John: "I did everything I could off the field, making sure that I take care of my own rehab. Doing the right way in the classroom and stuff like that."

While closing in on his return, Straka was set to face live hitting for the first time. That's when he found out he had torn a muscle in his shoulder. His arm would be shutdown for 5 months.

John: "It was definitely a tough set back, knowing that I had to take more time off and that it was going to prevent me from pitching in games for that much longer and work that much harder. And that when I came back my arm was healthy and I wouldn't have any further issues."

Todd Brown/NDSU Head Coach: "Seeing the struggles of him working on his rehab and then having another injury that set him back. The only thing I could tell him is to keep working hard and good things are going to happen."

Straka returned to the mound last spring and helped lead the Bison to their first Summit League tournament. Clearing some mental hurdles in the process.

John: "I was really excited to get back on the mound, that's for sure. But, you're right it's definitely in the back of my head, "is my arm going to hold up? And not only my elbow at that point in time, but thinking how is my shoulder feeling?"

His numbers this season, would indicate that his arm is feeling quite good. Straka leads the Summit League with a 2.37 ERA and has already been named league pitcher of the week twice.

John: "It has been a blast. It definitely shows that hard work pays off. I've put in a lot of time off the field and in the training room, making sure that my arm was going to be healthy. Just playing with this team, we've been playing such good baseball. It has been fun."

The Bison split a pair with Western Illinois this afternoon,

beating the Leathernecks, 10-4 in game one behind 5 hits from Tim Colwell.

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