Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FSU's Richie Ready to Flex His Muscle

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FSU's Richie Ready to Flex His Muscle

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Thomas, Times-Union sports writer

TALLAHASSEE -- Slowly, Florida State sophomore catcher Tony Richie's game is rounding into shape as he continues to regain the strength in his throwing shoulder following offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum.

One of four Jacksonville natives on the top-ranked Seminoles' roster, the former Bishop Kenny star and freshman All-American is looking forward to this weekend's two-game, home-and-home series with Jacksonville University. If for no other reason it will provide him with another opportunity to improve on his stolen base percentage.

After gunning down 35 percent of base stealers last season, Richie has failed on 14 of 16 attempts to cut down the opposition.

"I was kind of frustrated," Richie said of the slow start. "To not be able to [throw at full strength] every single time somebody runs is kind of tough mentally, but you've just got to be able to get over it and know it's going to get better soon."

Richie said his arm is finally back to full strength. Two weekends ago he gunned down Stanford's Sam Fuld at second for the final out in FSU's 7-6 victory. The Dolphins, successful on 9-of-10 steal attempts this season, however, figure to find out on their own.

"It was great to end the series like that," Richie said. "[Stanford] ran a lot the first day but they didn't run that much [after] and my arm is getting stronger every day. To actually see that, it was a big encouragement to me and, I guess, everybody else."

Though Richie was unsuccessful in two attempts during last weekend's three-game sweep of Arizona State, FSU coach Mike Martin isn't discouraged by his start.

"I think Tony is now back to his old self," Martin said.

"I'm sure what will happen is people won't challenge him. He was not challenged after one or two times last year. …

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