Some Gross leftovers
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Some Gross leftovers
Bob Brookover, Inquirer Baseball Columnist
Sometimes you write a story for the newspaper and you run out of room to get everything in. Unlimited space is the beauty of the internet age.
I wrote a story about former Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross for Sunday and had some leftover quotes. Here are the leftovers. I hope you enjoy them as much as I love leftover Thanksgiving turkey.
I asked Gross about several of the Phillies’ hitters, including the exiled Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino, and here’s what he had to say.
On Pence: “I think Hunter put a lot of pressure on himself. With other guys out, he felt like he had to carry the team. People who watched, I think they saw a different player compared to when he came over the second half of the previous season.”
On Victorino: “Shane, I think the whole free agency thing … I don’t think he responded well to that situation. In the end, he ends up doing pretty well for himself (with Boston). If he had known during the year that was going to end up what it was going to be, he would have been more relaxed.”
On Domonic Brown: “I don’t think Domonic ever got comfortable. He never has been at any level for a whole season and the game at the top level is difficult. That learning curve in a situation where you’re expected to win is going to be really short. The patience is not going to be that long. A second-division club is totally different for a young player. They learn that way. In a situation like the Phillies have been in since 2006, the leash is going to be real short.”
On Chase Utley: “He’s played catch up for two straight seasons. You don’t just jump in and play the game at this speed. It just doesn’t happen. It’s one thing to go through spring training and then get hurt, but when you go from October all the way through June without playing, that’s asking a lot. He’s a guy I really pull for to get through spring training. He’s one of the best workers I’ve ever been around. They had two of the best there: one was him and the other was Juan Pierre.”
On Ryan Howard: “They got away from the lineup they had when Jayson Werth left. They banged the ball and everybody did. I don’t know if he’d admit it, but with things going the way they’re going, he feels like he has to hit three-run home runs all the time to help pick up the team. I think that expands the strike zone. He chases more pitches than he did in the past. I think it’s human nature. No matter how good you are, you need help.
“Plus, he’s been in the league a lot longer. The pitching over the years, they pitch him a little different than they did in years before. Pitching in our division is also a lot better over the last few years. When you see Washington and Atlanta 18 times a year, you’re seeing good pitching. It’s like when we’d go into a place, you’d see good hitters go bad depending on who they were facing those three games. Halladay, Hamels and Lee make a lineup look sick.”