Detroit — If you get to the ballpark early enough, you might catch Shane Greene and Nick Castellanos on the grass in shallow left field, going through a series of bizarre exercises — looks like a cross between advanced yoga, rhythmic gymnastics and interpretive dance.
“I’ve been getting made fun of for some of my lunges since I was in Single-A,” Greene said. “I used to be in the weight room doing lunges and they would turn on rain dance music. Everybody would be in there watching me do this rain dance stuff.”
Never mind how it looks, it works. Greene has been a disciple of one of the top bio-mechanics instructors in the country — Orlando-based Chuck Wolf of Human Motion Associates. Greene has been using Wolf’s training methods for nearly six years and, as goofy as some of the exercises may look — especially some of the two-man medicine ball routines — he swears by them.
So, when Castellanos came to him recently and asked if he thought they could help, Greene immediately introduced him to his program.
“Basically, Nick’s got tight hips and he was interested in trying it out,” Greene said. “He’s liked it so far, so we’re giving it a shot.”
Wolf views the body as an integrated matrix and thus, some of his diagnostics are as seemingly bizarre as his training methods. Greene tells a great story about his first encounter with Wolf.
“When I was in high school, I had elbow problems,” he said. “I went and met this guy named Chuck Wolf. He made me do a bunch of tests and told me my elbow was hurting because my left ankle was tight.
“Me and my dad left and said, ‘This guy is crazy.’ And I never went back.”
Not until after he had Tommy John surgery in college, that is. One of Greene’s best friends, a football player, found Wolf’s methods helpful after he had ACL surgery and he encouraged Greene to give it another shot.
“I trusted him, and he said I had to give this guy a chance,” Greene said. “So I went to him one off-season, it was after my low-A season (2011).”
Wolf didn’t remember his first session with Greene, but he ran the exact same tests and came up with the exact same diagnosis — a tight left ankle was the root of his arm problems.
“He asked me how hard I threw,” Greene said. “He told me I could get four more miles per hour out of my body. So I did everything he said for three months. The next time I was on the mound, I was throwing 93-96 mph. I had been 90-92 the year before.
“And I’ve been going to him ever since. I’ve had injuries here and there, but for the most part it’s kept me healthy.”
Castellanos, who has been in a constant search to make himself more flexible and thus more athletic, is a prime candidate for Wolf’s program.
“He’s a bio-mechanic, so he’s not so much interested in strength and conditioning, as he is worried about the body moving properly and everything being connected in every movement,” Greene said of Wolf’s theory. “So, it’s really just an involved stretch, with lunges and med-ball throws. You are triggering certain muscles and activating certain muscles based on stretching throughout the motion.”
Being able to teach the stuff to Castellanos has had the side benefit of forcing Greene to keep up with his own regimen.
“During the season, especially being a reliever now, it’s been tough to keep up with it,” Greene said. “You pitch three days in a row and you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck. You don’t want to do too much, just make sure you are ready to pitch.
“Nick was interested and asked if it could help him. I showed him a few things I do in the off-season every day to warm up and he likes it. It will be good for him.”