Results tagged ‘ Tom Gorzelanny ’
It is roughly 400 miles from Indianpolis to Pittsburgh, and that is where I caught up with one of the newest members of the Cubs organization, left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, driving east on I-70. He was on his way back to the Iron City before reporting to the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.
“So Tom, do you have a minute to talk?”
“Man, I’m driving back to Pittsburgh to grab some things. I got nothing but time.”
He and fellow lefty John Grabow were acquired by the Cubs in exchange for right-handers Kevin Hart, Jose Ascanio and Single-A infielder Josh Harrison. (Photo by Rob Tringali)
Cubs might remember the dogged southpaw who went 14-10 in 2007, with a 3.88 ERA in 201.2 innings. He was one of the brightest stars of the Pirates young rotation. Against the Cubs in 2007, Gorzelanny did well, posting a modest 1-2 record, but 3.66 ERA and striking out 15 in 19.2 innings.
For the Orland Park, Ill. native, being traded to the Cubs today was like homecoming weekend.
“I almost can’t describe how this feels,” Gorzelanny said. “To come home and play for the hometown team….It’s definitely something I’m going to enjoy.”
If you are familiar at all with where Orland Park is, then it’s going to be very obvious that the Gorzelanny house was not decked out in Cubs blue. Geography wouldn’t allow anything but the white and black of the Sox. But don’t hold it against him.
“Yeah, I was just brought up to be a Sox fan,” he said. “I mean, I couldn’t help it–all my friends were Sox fans. My family was all Sox fans. But you know, I am more than happy to play for the Cubs right now. I am ecstatic.”
After what would have been termed as a “breakout” 2007, Gorzelanny experienced a hellish 2008, going 6-9 with a devilish 6.66 ERA. It was a step backward and he knew why.
“It was a year I just wanted to erase,” Gorzelanny said. “Going into spring training after ’07, I just wasn’t prepared enough to pitch another 200 innings. As a young guy, you think you don’t have to work as hard maybe. As a result, my shoulder got tired and I couldn’t get my breaking ball over, so I’d try to throw harder. But nothing worked. It took a toll mentally and physically.
“But this off-season I worked my butt off, because I learned a major lesson,” he added. “I benefitted from that disappointing season tremendously. Sure, I wasn’t in Pittsburgh as much as I needed to be, but I learned that I can still win major-league games.”
For the Indianapolis Indians, Gorzelanny posted a 4-3 record with a terrific 2.48 ERA, striking out 85 and walking just 30 in 87 innings. He earned a brief nine-game call-up to Pittsburgh in late-May and early June. (Photo by Jim McIssac)
Gorzelanny also is an alum of Triton Junior College, in River Grove, Ill. (A shout to all you Trojans out there!) The school has graduated some esteemed baseball people, most notably Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett, former Cubs outfielder Lance Johnson and current Dodgers general manager and former Cubs media relations director Ned Colletti. Gorzelanny played under head coach Bob Simmons, who also coached Puckett and Johnson.
“I really enjoyed my time there,” he said. “it helped me learn to pitch my best and gave me the opportunities that led me to the pros. Bob’s a little old school–he wanted you to pitch every couple of days, so sometimes I had to push back a little, but he only wanted me to get better and stronger as a pitcher.”
So this hometown kid is nearly back in Chicago. When he does come up to the bigs is a good question. Let’s leave that up to Jim Hendry and Co. But one thing’s for sure:
“I’m just happy I don’t have to face that lineup anymore,” he laughed. “It’ll be nice to have them behind me this time.”
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On giving up Kevin Hart after today’s win: Trades are meant to help both clubs. I tried — like I always would — I tried to keep guys out of the deals you don’t want to do, like we did [Sean Gallagher]. We held on, finally if you want Rich Harden, you got to go. And certainly you guys read the stories around the country, John Grabow is a sought after guy, a perfect deadline deal. A good left-hander out of the pen, who doesn’t want that at the deadline? So I’m sure [Pirates GM Neal Huntington] had five or six other good opportunities to move him.
Kevin understood. He’s been a really, really good kid since the day we got him. Randy Bush had a lot to do with us getting him a few years ago when nobody knew who he was and not many scouts had him in great rating. [Bush] had seen him by accident one night at A ball, and then we traded Freddie Bynum for him at the Winter Meetings, just because we needed Freddie’s roster spot. We picked up Kevin on a flier. He’s been a real good kid. Like everybody else, he’s been inconsistent at times, and out of the pen, his walk ratio was a little high. But you know, he did a solid job for us in the starts he gave us, and we did our part and scored a lot of runs for him the last couple times.
On how today’s trade affects Sean Marshall’s usage: Sean’s doing a very good job where he’s at. I’ll let Lou [Piniella] and Larry [Rothschild] decide which way they want to go with it.
On the surplus of lefties if B.J. Ryan makes the big-league club: Ryan’s good enough to help, certainly. I remember Jimmy Leyland won a World Series, and he always used to have to have three lefties. If you can find the right three, why not? The good ones get the lefties and the righties out.
General manager Jim Hendry just announced a trade with the Pirates moments ago. The Cubs sent right-handers Kevin Hart and Jose Ascanio, and Class-A infielder Josh Harrison in exchange.
Hart, of course, was today’s game-winner. You can read the full press release below the jump. Quotes from Hendry coming soon.