The Philadelphia Phillies have told pitcher Kevin Gross exactl
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) _ The Philadelphia Phillies have told pitcher Kevin Gross exactly where he stands and he likes what he hears.
″I have a starting job,″ said the 23-year-old right-hander. ″They’ve told me the job is mine. The only way I won’t have it is if I lose it here in the spring.″
Pitching coach Claude Osteen said the 23-year-old Gross needs to start if he is to become a valuable pitcher for the Phillies.
″There probably isn’t anyone on the staff with as many quality pitches as Gross,″ Osteen said. ″He has a fastball, curve, slider and excellent changeup. When you see those things, you can’t help dreaming a bit that if he gets the opportunity he could be a real good pitcher.″
Gross, who was signed by the Phillies as a free agent in 1981, worked as a reliever and a starter last season. He was 4-0 out of the bullpen, where he started the season, and 4-5 as a starter. He moved into the rotation June 3 when John Denny was injured and returned to the bullpen July 25.
Although Gross says he likes both roles, he wants to leave spring training knowing he will do one or the other because there is a difference in preparing for the two jobs.
″You have to be a lot more flexible physically and mentally as a reliever, because you never know when you’re going to be in there,″ he said. ″As a starter, I can work real hard in between (starts) physically and be ready to go nine innings if I have to. As a reliever, I don’t work quite as hard.″
Knowing now that he’s going to be a starter will enable him to concentrate better, he said.
″Right now I’m 100 percent as a starter in my mind,″ he said. ″I just want to go out there and hang on to the job.″
Gross was a starter in 1983, when he was called up from the minor leagues during the season, and he felt his mind was set then.
″Last year I was back and forth and had to make little adjustments, which wasn’t that hard,″ he said. ″But I want to go a solid year as a starter and see if that could be my future.″