Get to know: Left-hander John Gaub

A former 21st-round pick of the Indians, reliever John Gaub has had to prove himself every step of the way to get to the major leagues. Vine Line had the first cup of coffee with Gaub in early September, talking to him about overcoming injuries and developing a new pitch that helped him get to the majors. It’s an exclusive look at the player development in the Cubs organization. Subscribe to Vine Line to read more from Gaub’s interview and everything from minors to majors. (Photo by Stephen Green)

SPINNING YARN Earlier in my career I [threw] just two pitches—a fastball and slider. My slider’s a fairly hard pitch, so this year with [Iowa pitching coach] Mike Mason I started working on a curveball. And it came around really quick. I started throwing it a lot.

MORE THAN LEFTIES-ONLY The curveball helped. I developed that this year, especially against right-handers. With the slider breaking towards them, it’s an easier pitch for them to hit, so the curveball, which is more or less almost like a change-up, is just a third speed. It’s something else you’ve got to keep in the back of your head, especially right-handers, I’ll throw that earlier, I’ll go to it later if I need to. I’ve attacked lefties the same way I always have, I’ve always done well, but right-handers is really something I wanted to improve upon.

HEALTH At one point I spent about three straight years in recovery from surgery. After the second one, they told me it’s a very small chance I’d be able to pitch again pain-free. Just that in itself I consider a success, let alone pitching for as long and as well as I have. I’m blessed to not only have the arm that I do but to be able to have come through the injuries.

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