INDIANAPOLIS – So many wouldn’t have been surprised if he was sitting in the dugout at PNC Park, conducting interviews before making his major league debut.
His solid year in the minors in 2012 and his spring training in 2013 presented the possibility that Gerrit Cole might be wearing the black and yellow of Pirates when the faced the Cubs in their opening week series.
Instead the pitcher was in the dugout at Victory Field talking to reporters from Indianapolis instead of Pittsburgh-one more stop in Triple A for one of the most promising young pitchers in baseball.
Yet the pitcher is trying not to take the decision by the Pirates to start him with the Indians too hard. Instead, he’s trying to keep things simple.
“You’ve got to be disciplined in your approach,” said Cole of his mindset as he joins the Indians. “Just try to ignore that stuff, you can’t control it.”
That’s the attitude he’s tried to have on his quick rise through the Pirates organization starting with his being drafted first overall by Pittsburgh in the 2011 MLB Draft. Last season he had three minor league stops-including one start with the Indians-finishing with a 9-7 record with an ERA under three and 136 strikeouts compared to 45 walks.
He made his first start for the Indians on Friday, going four innings and allowing three runs on five hits while striking out two.
“Maintain my delivery and consistency,” said Cole of his early goals with the Indians. “But really just go out there and compete. It’s about Friday night and then after Friday night its about the next start after that. Just try to keep it simple.”
Catcher Tony Sanchez believes that by doing so Cole will make it difficult on opposing hitters. The pitcher is known for his 100-plus mile-per-hour fastball which he showed off during his time at UCLA and in his season in the minor leagues. Sanchez believes his confidence to use that pitch along with others is what will make him imposing whether in Indianapolis or Pittsburgh.
“Here’s my best pitch, see if you can hit it,” said Sanchez of Cole’s attitude on the mound. “That’s one of the things you need in a pitcher, he’s not afraid to go after guys.”
It’s a simple philosophy no matter where Cole may go in 2013.