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Gubicza Hears the Call of K.C. Again

April 15, 1998

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A two-month retirement from baseball was all Mark Gubicza could stand.

Now he’s ready to go back to work for the Kansas City Royals, with whom he spent 12 years as a pitcher, as a roving minor league pitching instructor.

``It’s tough being away from the game,″ said Gubicza, the Royals’ all-time strikeout leader.

``I found I couldn’t get it out of my system. I love being part of it. I couldn’t see myself doing something else right now.″

After pitching for the Royals from 1984-96, Gubicza signed with the Anaheim Angels, then retired in February.

But restless at home in Northridge, Calif., he flew to Kansas City several weeks ago and spoke with general manager Herk Robinson and other Royals’ officials.

``We started talking about some things during spring training,″ Gubicza said from California. ``I just asked them if there was something I could do for the organization. I had told them every year I was there that when I was done playing, if they wanted me to come back, I’d be glad to. And now that I am through as a player, I want to help the Royals get back to the times when I first came up, back to a winning tradition.″

The Royals are happy to welcome him back.

``Every contract we negotiated, he always said, `Now, don’t forget I want to come back and work for the Royals,′ ″ Robinson said.

Gubicza’s only request was that he have plenty of time at home with wife Lisa and their three children.

``I told them that now that I’m retired, I don’t think it would be fair to my family and my kids to be gone that much,″ he said. ``I’m not going to be doing a ton of travel. When you’re a player, the travel is part of the game. But when you retire, travel is a choice. My choice is to be around my family as much as I can.″

It was only with great reluctance that Gubicza retired. He had contemplated a comeback with the Los Angeles Dodgers this year.

``The ideal situation would be that I was still pitching, but that just wasn’t in the cards,″ he said. ``I love the game, though, and if I can help Kansas City be better in the future, or in the present, than that’s what I want.″

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