Former Pro Baseball Player Supporting UR Medicine’s Kessler Burn Center
Matthew Dryer Grateful for Care He Received at Kessler
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Ex-pro baseball player and entrepreneur Matthew Dryer thinks a lot about his right arm. He hits with it. He pitches with it. And he uses it to show thousands of young, Rochester-area athletes how to improve their game. But in September of last year, his right arm was badly burned in a grease fire and he was rushed to UR Medicine’s Kessler Burn Center. Dryer and his family wondered if he would ever be able to play baseball again.
Dryer spent 13 days in Kessler, located at Strong Memorial Hospital, and underwent a skin graft operation performed by surgeon Derek E. Bell, M.D. director of the Center. Today, Dryer is back at the helm of the Matt Dryer Diamond Pro School of Hitting in East Rochester, and he’s still throwing some fast balls to his students.
But this Friday, August 22, Dryer will be operating a pitching machine to make many more throws in support of Kessler at Let’s Bash One for Burn Victims!, a homerun derby at Frontier Field, 333 N. Plymouth Ave. in Rochester. Gates and registration open at 5 p.m. (Pre-registration is closed.) All proceeds benefit patients at the Kessler Burn Center.
“I was planning this while I was still at Kessler,” says Dryer, a former 15th (2002) and 35th (1998) round draft pick of the San Francisco Giants. “I received such great care, and I knew I needed to give back. I remain friends with Dr. Bell to this day.”
The event, which is also sponsored by the Rochester Red Wings, gives local batters of all ages, skill levels, and batting stances a chance to see how many homeruns they can hit. While adults will have to hit the ball over the fence just like the Red Wings, shorter fences will be set up for younger players. Batters who are ages 12 and under will try to hit the ball over a 200-foot fence, and participants between 13 and 15 will aim for a 340-foot fence. For $30, participants receive 15 swings, a t-shirt, and a ticket to the Red Wings game on August 24. Prizes will be awarded in youth, teen, and adult categories.