The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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February 10, 2009

Pirates' Gorzelanny looking to bounce back

(Continued)

BRADENTON —

Gorzelanny went 6-9 with a devilish 6.66 ERA in 21 starts and was also sent on a seven-start detour to Class AAA Indianapolis beginning July 4. Most distressing was that Gorzelanny had more three more walks than strikeouts (70-67) in 105 2/3 major-league innings.

That came on the heels of what seemed like a breakthrough ’07 in which he we was 14-10 with a 3.88 ERA in 32 starts.

“It was humbling,” Gorzelanny said. “I learned a lot about myself and to not take things for granted. I realized that the hard work doesn’t stop once you have  success in the major leagues.”

Gorzelanny admirably tried to pitch through the elbow discomfort. But now he second-guesses himself for not having the problem attended to early on.

“I didn’t think it was that serious, and I really wanted to build off what I had done the year before,” Gorzelanny said. “I’m a competitor. I wanted to take the ball every fifth day and pitch. I didn’t want to go on the disabled list. Looking back, it was selfish on my part. At the time, though, I felt I was doing the right thing by not letting my team down.”

If there is a silver lining to Gorzealanny’s nightmarish 2007, it is that he did have some success during his hiatus in the minor leagues. He went 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA for Indianapolis, striking out 33 and walking just four in 35 innings.

New pitching coach Joe Kerrigan certainly thinks Gorzelanny’s career is salvageable and is encouraged that the 26-year-old has dropped that excess 15 pounds he was carrying last season.

“You don’t win 14 games in the major leagues by accident,” Kerrigan said. “He has proven he can be successful in the major leagues and I don’t think there is any question that he has the talent to succeed. Sometimes, young pitchers veer off course.”

His lessons learned, Gorzelanny believes he is on course for a season more like 2007 than 2008.

“Last year was so frustrating that I never want to go through anything like that again,” he said. “It made me hungry to come back this season and pitch the way I know I’m capable of pitching.”

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