ALUMNI REPORT: GROSS
As far as Syracuse alumni to report on this week, most of the news was bad news.
Gabe Gross (’03-’05) was optioned by the Brewers to Triple-A Nashville last Thursday. Gabe had appeared in 55 games this season and was hitting .202 with 4 HR and 9 RBI.
Gross was Traded by the Blue Jays along with Dave Bush and Zach Jackson for Lyle Overbay and spent all of the 2006 season in the bigs where he hit .274 with 9 HR and 38 RBI in 117 games.
For Gross it will mark his first time in the minors in nearly 2 years. Gabe’s last Minor League at-bat came for the SkyChiefs at Pawtucket on August 31, 2005.
Gabe is taking everything with a great attitude and looking forward to being a regular in the lineup.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to go down and get some at-bats,” said Gross, 27. “It’s been two years since I’ve been able to play every day, so that’s going to be nice. I’m looking forward to waking up every day knowing my name is going to be in the lineup.”
The outfield situation in Milwaukee is pretty crowded both now and in the future. Former Infielder Bill Hall is now the Brewers Center-fielder and is signed through 2010. With Hall currently on the DL, Tony Gwynn Jr. has played in center and is hitting .275 with 8 SB in 58 games. The Brewers could move Hall to left field next season to make room for Gwynn JR. 25-year old Corey Hart (.284-14-40 with 16 SB) has emerged as a solid option in Right field. The current left field platoon of Geoff Jenkins and Kevin Mench both have expiring contracts at the end of the season and with the emergence of young talent in the outfield will probably not be re-signed.
Gross will certainly be called back up in September if not sooner and will be in the mix as a reserve outfielder next season if Jenkins and Mench are not brought back. If Gross wants to be an everyday player in the Big Leagues, the time is now to showcase his talents for other teams.
“I have never been more confident in my ability to play every day,” Gross said. “I feel like if you put me in the lineup on the first of April and take me out the first of October, that my numbers won’t just be adequate, they’ll be very good. I have to convince somebody to give me that opportunity.”
In other alumni news, former SkyChiefs shortstop Cesar Izturis was traded from the Chicago Cubs to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later. Izturis is reunited with Jim Tracy, who managed Cesar in Los Angeles.
Pittsburgh pitcher John Wasdin who was 1-1, 5.95 in 12 appearances (’03) was outrighted to Indianapolis.
Former SkyChiefs catcher Jason Phillips was released when the Jays called up Curtis Thigpen.