IT CAN FEEL pretty damn good when you finally realize what you are doing wrong. That doesn't mean you stop doing it, only that you understand when it has been done. When you yank your approach shot into the woods, but feel your front half open up. When you clank a shot off the side of the rim, but feel your guide hand muck up your release. For Phillippe Aumont, it's his front arm, the left one, the one that, earlier this week while standing in front of his locker, he held straight in front of himself, as if expecting one of his teammates to attempt a karate kick to his sternum. "For me, I feel like it's all with the front glove," the 25-year-old righthander said. "Staying strong, staying there, up until I fire." He dropped the arm and moved it to his side, so that it looked more like a chicken wing. "If this gets out of the way . . . " He swiveled his torso, the front shoulder opening up toward the chicken wing, toward an imaginary first base. " . . . then this just opens up. It becomes side to side, and I fly open, or I'll just yank it." Aumont's voice danced with the excitement of somebody who has finally ascertained true understanding after a long period in which all he could do was emptily nod. Now, after a tumultuous 2013 in which he was banished to the minors after 2 months of inconsistency and was not invited back at the end of the season, the flame-throwing righthander is determined to parlay his new knowledge into a spot on the Phillies' Opening Day roster. "What happened last year was really a question mark," Aumont said. "Like, 'Why is this happening?' All of that stuff. But if you look back on video, I'm not sound mechanically, I was not sound mentally, that's for sure." The truth is, Aumont has always meant well. At 6-7, 260 pounds with dense, black whiskers coating the lower half of his face, he might look like an extra from a Jean-Claude Van Damme flick, but he is soft-spoken and congenial and genuine, and you really get the sense that all he wants to do is live up to his employer's expectations, to make everybody who has ever believed in him proud. Over and over, he stresses how grateful he is for the fresh start he feels as if he has been given. He understands he did not please many folks in the organization when he vented his frustration at having been sent down after 19 appearances in which his respectable 4.19 ERA was marred by the 13 walks he issued in 19 1/3 innings. But he also understands that he wasn't the only person who was frustrated in 2013, and that everybody else has moved on. If there is one person who has been most rejuvenated by the new coaching regime, it is probably Aumont. "The events just kept repeating, repeating," Aumont said. "I've brushed off 2013, like it never happen. Obviously, you learn from it. A bad experience, you can grow from that. But in terms of memory and all of that stuff, it's all behind me, and right now I'm just thinking about making this club."
Aumont confident he has fixed his flawed mechanics
Philly.com | Feb 22