Gose brings confidence, 100-mph heat to camp

Outfielder-turned-pitcher hopes to make Astros as reliever

February 15th, 2018

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- One thing that doesn't lack is confidence.
Gose, the former Major League outfielder, is hoping his electric left arm can keep his career alive in an unlikely second act as a relief pitcher. The Astros took him in the Rule 5 Draft from the Rangers in December, hoping Gose can harness his 100-mph fastball to win a job in the defending World Series champs' bullpen.
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Gose admitted to reporters Thursday morning he doesn't like talking to the media, before holding a wide-ranging five-minute interview. When asked how high his confidence is to make the team, he deadpanned: "I throw 100. It's high."

It won't be that easy. Yes, the Astros are in need of a dependable lefty in the bullpen after two sub-par years from , so there is an opening. But Gose made the transition to pitching just a year ago while in camp with the Tigers. Being a Rule 5 Draft pick, Gose would have to stick on the Astros' 25-man roster the entire season or be offered back to Texas, which signed him in November.
"It's tough odds," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
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Gose, who drew attention while throwing his first bullpen on Thursday, made 11 relief appearances with Class A Lakeland last year, recording 14 strikeouts against six walks and a .189 opponent batting average. He has appeared in 372 career big leagues games as an outfielder with the Blue Jays (2012-14) and Tigers (2015-16) and is a .240 career hitter.
"Opportunities are running slim to none in the outfield," Gose said. "I'm not producing offensively. I'm not going to get too many opportunities out there. I was blessed with a pretty good arm and just put it to work."
Hinch said the Astros don't plan to use Gose as an outfielder this spring and want him to strictly focus on pitching. Gose will be on a more regimented throwing plan than the other pitchers in camp because he had an elbow injury last year.
"I've never thrown a baseball in the offseason until this year," he said. "I never felt a reason to. You've got six weeks in Spring Training. Never had arm problems. I'd just pick it up and throw it has hard as I can. … I wasn't prepared. I used to laugh at guys that do arm exercises and now I'm doing them myself. I hadn't done it in a while. I probably got some inefficiencies in my windup, but when you throw 100 it makes up for it."
As for his breaking ball, Gose said: "Curveball from hell."

Gose, who pitched and played outfield in high school, said he will miss running balls down in the outfield, making highlight-reel catches and going up to the plate, but pitching is his ticket to prolonging his career.
"I just want to play," he said. "If it was in the outfield or on the mound. With the Rangers, I got an opportunity to do a little bit of both. Here they want me to be on the mound. I'll take it in stride and roll with it."