FINALLY…”Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” has come back!
When last we joined our heroes, they were standing over the discarded #60 jersey of Wily Peralta, wondering how he had come to this new #38 he now wore on his back. That was nearly a week ago.
Seriously, though, as we countdown to Opening Day by way of the numbers players will be wearing in camp and in Cactus League games, we just got through a very long drought. That’s because I don’t profile coaches and lots of coaches sport numbers in the 30s.
Regardless, here we are, a mere 32 days away from Opening Day so we’re back on the wagon as we focus on…
Thomas Stephen Gorzelanny is a 31-year-old left-handed pitcher. He is an Illinois native, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2003, debuted in the majors in 2005, and has pitched for four franchises in his career.
That’s the short version. For the long version of Tom Gorzelanny’s career arc that landed him in Milwaukee prior to the 2013 season, check out last year’s profile.
As for 2013, Gorzelanny ended up in more of a swing shift than he did in 2012 (one of the best seasons of his career). Some of that was rought out of necessity, but after some limited success in that necessity, the Brewers decided to force the issue and see if Gorzelanny’s successes in the bullpen over the previous year-plus could lead him back into a rotation full-time.
Well, let’s just say that if nothing else, it confirmed that Gorzelanny’s future is the bullpen. He’s effective against hitters of both handedness, so he needn’t be a LOOGy (at least not yet) and can pitch multiple innings in need be, but it’s the second and especially third time through a batting order where he just got trounced. Obviously limiting his exposure by capping him to an inning or two helps to maintain his effectiveness.
In fact, I wrote about getting Gorzelanny back into the bullpen last year while they were struggling through some of his starts. I laid out some arguments, left others on the table because I had made my point, but I failed to mention one key thing that ended up costing Gorzelanny the balance of his season. That being, the injury risk of sending a long-term bullpen pitcher into the rotation for a long run of starting games.
I wrote that article on August 26th. Gorzelanny started again on August 28th and pitched poorly. They tried to put him back in the bullpen finally in September, but the up and down of bullpen-to-rotation-to-bullpen work had finally caught up to him and he was pulled from his first appearance back in the ‘pen.
Gorzelanny was shut down following three weeks of inactivity before attempting a throwing session. Nobody likes to enter an off-season injured, but Gorzelanny would have taken it if that’s all it was.
Instead, Gorzelanny had shoulder surgery in December and his Opening Day was in serious doubt. He had a little bit of a quicker rehab than expected and threw his first bullpen session on Friday, February 21st. He appears back on track for Opening Day at this point.
He’s got a job in this bullpen if he’s healthy, though if he isn’t it gives GM Doug Melvin a little bit of flexibility when he’s trying to make the decisions to get down to a 25-man roster.
Make no mistake though, Ron Roenicke would much rather have him available on March 31st.
You can follow Tom Gorzelanny on Twitter: @TGorz
Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:
- #38 Wily Peralta
- #40 Johnny Hellweg
- #41 Marco Estrada
- #45 Alfredo Figaro
- #46 Hiram Burgos
- #47 Rob Wooten
- #49 Yovani Gallardo
- #50 José De La Torre
- #51 Wei-Chung Wang
- #52 Jimmy Nelson
- #53 Brandon Kintzler
- #54 Michael Blazek
- #58 Ariel Peña
- #59 Zach Duke
- #60 Kevin Shackelford
- #61 Jason Rogers
- #63 Brooks Hall
- #64 Mike Fiers
- #65 Irving Falu
- #66 Robinzon Diaz
- BONUS COLUMN: #77 David Goforth, #76 Kevin Mattison, #75 Mitch Haniger, #74 Michael Olmstead, #73 Kentrail Davis, #72 Cameron Garfield, #71 Adam Weisenburger, #70 Dustin Molleken, #67 Eugenio Velez