Bullpen role gives Hose path to major leagues

December 25, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

Terry Hose lists his priorities alphabetically.

Maybe it wasn't a conscious decision, but more a matter of placing passion ahead of pride.

The Arizona Diamondbacks organization decided it wanted Hose to work out of the bullpen instead of as a starting pitcher. After some quick consideration, he decided to put pitching before any pouting.

He's glad he did.

"If I didn't go to the bullpen, I wouldn't be where I am today," Hose said.

Hose, known as T.J. in his days at North Hagerstown High School, is in the Diamondbacks' sights as a possible major league pitcher after being selected their organizational pitcher of the year by earlier this month for his season at two Class-A stops.

"Getting recognition from MLB, I must be doing something right," Hose said. "I knew I wasn't going to be a top draft pick because of my age and size. I've had to do it all with heart and work."


Hose was a 36th-round selection in the 2008 amateur draft, certainly not a "sure thing" for the majors. But his work out of the bullpen this season -- mostly as a closer -- caught a few eyes.

"One of the Arizona scouts came up and told me that they never would have thought they were getting a prospect with the 36th pick," said Hose, 23, earlier this year.

The willingness to change directions helped pave the way.

Hose's big decision came in March when he was assigned to play for the Class-A South Bend Silverhawks.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Hose had been a successful starter at East Carolina and with Yakima in the Single-A Rookie Northwest League, but he was notified he would be working out of the bullpen. He was one of six or seven starters on the South Bend staff, but most of the others were younger.

In a way, it was a blessing for Hose. He loved to pitch, and now he would do it more often.

"I worked as a reliever before," Hose said. "I did some in high school when I played on my fall travel team and I did some in college, so it wasn't too much of an adjustment," Hose said. "You have to be prepared every day to go in every time. I like going in and working in those situations."

Hose showed his worth in the new role immediately. After starting the season as South Bend's setup man, he took over the closer role and posted a 3-2 record with 11 saves and a 1.70 earned run average, striking out 43 and walking 12 in 37 innings. He was selected to pitch in the Midwest League's All-Star Game.

The Diamondbacks promoted Hose to Visalia in the Class-A California League, where he gained one more save in 15 appearances while striking out 27 and walking five in 22 2/3 innings.

For the season, Hose turned in 12 saves and a 3-2 record in 59 2/3 innings of work. He struck out 70 and walked just 17.

"After my last outing in Visalia, my coach told me that I had made a strong case to start in Double-A next year," Hose said. "I have to go in and start putting up the numbers in order to move to the majors."

Hose has been working out in Hagerstown, doing conditioning at the YMCA. He won't start throwing again until he gets ready to head to spring training in February.

Then it will be time to alphabetize again, with labor before satisfaction.

"I can't believe I won this award," Hose said. "It just proves to me that I have to keep working. I can't be satisfied with what I got. I have to keep working to get what I want -- to get to the major leagues."

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