The good news for the Texas Rangers if they miss out on Shohei Ohtani is that they already have a two-way player signed and ready to go to spring training.
Anthony Gose, a career outfielder who spent last season as a relief pitcher in the Detroit Tigers organization, said on Tuesday that he is preparing this off-season to play the outfield and pitch.
Officially signed to a minor-league deal Monday, the left-handed batter/lefty pitcher is taking part this week in an off-season minicamp of sorts at Arlington High School and Globe Life Park.
He has some catching up to do, as he hadn’t swung a bat since March before taking swings the past two days and has never had an off-season as a pitcher.
Gose, 27, said that he selected the Rangers over a few other clubs because they were the only one willing to give him a chance to play outfield. He enjoys pitching, but most of all he enjoys playing baseball and believes being able to pitch and play outfield gives him the best chance of extending his career.
“I’m just going to let things play out,” Gose said Tuesday. “These are my first two days swinging a bat, and I’ve been playing catch for two months. I’m hoping the team is going to guide me in the right direction and steer me right and show me what to do.
“My arm is going to carry me a long further than my bat ever has, and we’re going to continue to do whatever it takes to get back to the big leagues.”
Gose said that he topped out at 101 mph while at High A Lakeland in the Florida State League. He went 0-2 with a 7.59 ERA in only 11 appearances, walking six and striking out 14 before elbow inflammation ended his season.
His bat nearly ended his career.
Gose played 140 games in 2015 for the Tigers, batting .254 with 23 steals. He walked 45 times, but struck out 145 times. He hit only .209 in 91 at-bats in 2016, and that was an improvement over his .203 average in 340 Triple A at-bats.
It was a pretty simple decision last spring when the Tigers approached him about making the transition to the mound.
“It was probably pitch or go home,” he said.
The Rangers have need for a defensive-minded outfielder who can bat left-handed and a pitcher who tops 100 mph.