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Like Irish, Hose tries to score points in South Bend

May 15, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It might seem like T.J. Hose is in the wrong place at the right time.

Living and playing in South Bend, Ind. -- in the shadow of Notre Dame -- Hose's pitching efforts could get lost in an area steeped in football tradition.

But the North Hagerstown graduate is no different than the Fighting Irish. Every time he takes the field, he wants to score a touchdown. Figuratively speaking, of course.

Hose is a pitcher with many roles for the South Bend Silver Hawks, the Arizona Diamondbacks' Single-A affiliate in the Midwest League. That's OK, though, because each time out is a way to score points.


"I had a chance to be a starter, but it fell through," said Hose of his first year with a professional full-season team. "That's not a problem. It just gives me a chance to go out and compete more often."

Pitching and competing are the two most important things to Hose, who attended East Carolina before being selected by Arizona in the 36th round of the 2008 amateur draft.

"Nothing is set in stone," he said, "as long as I get the ball and keep going."

So far, that has been in a multitude of situations in his first nine appearances for the Silver Hawks. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound right-hander has been a setup man and a closer while South Bend manager Mark Haley and pitching coach Erik Sabel auditions each pitcher for roles. Hose is 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA, three walks, 13 strikeouts and three saves in 14 2/3 innings of work.

"Right now, they told me that I'm the seventh- and eighth-inning guy," Hose said. "They like to put me in the tough situations with like a one- or two-run lead because they know I will go in and throw strikes."

That's to Hose's liking because it allows him to pitch and compete every time he takes the field.

"I'm building a mentality that gets me so hyped up for those situations," he said. "You don't want to get too amped though because you don't want to go out there and overthrow. You want to go out and get the job done. As a starter, you go out there and you work six or seven innings and try to put the team in a situation to win before handing it over to the relievers."

Hose, 23, played the starter side of the game last season in Yakima (Wash.) in the Single-A half-season Northwest League. He went 4-5 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 starts. He pitched 78 1/3 innings, walking 20 and striking out 57.

Starting jobs were limited when he headed to South Bend, since the Silver Hawks are a combination of two rookie teams. The Silver Hawks decided to put Hose in the bullpen to take advantage of the experience he gained from pitching in college.

"There are a lot of guys who are Dominican or are 18-19 years old that are out there learning," Hose said. "Experience-wise, what helped me was pitching four years in college against some good competition. It has helped me see how to pitch. We have six or seven guys who can start and things have been changing so far, so who knows."

The Diamondbacks organization made sure Hose knew that his pitching situation was neither permanent nor his fault.

"They thought I was mad," Hose said. "They told me that they never thought a 36th-round guy would become a prospect. They wanted me to go out and keep it going. I told them that I wasn't down. This will just give me another opportunity to show what I can do."

For Hose, every one of those opportunities allows him to defy the odds while getting closer to his goal.

"I want to go out each time like it is going to be my last time out there," Hose said. "I know I wasn't a high pick. I'm not a senior out of high school. I'm not 6-2 or 6-3. I have to go out there and give it my all.

"If I can keep doing that and then maybe some day I'll get the chance to get my dream and I'll be pitching in the major leagues."

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