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BRADENTON, Fla. (KDKA) – It was only against Team Spain (a collection of low-level minor-leaguers – if that), but Gerrit Cole flashed the stuff you’d expect to see from a number one overall draft pick by striking out the first six batters he faced before giving up a couple of seeing-eye singles in his third inning.
Cole says he was more comfortable than in a previous outing because he started this game, which is his usual role. Plus, he’s simply more comfortable around the Major League veterans.
“Last year (in spring training), I didn’t say much,” Cole said. He was sent to the minor league camp in fairly short order last year.
This year, Cole is mixing in more, especially with a real veteran like A.J. Burnett.
“This year, knowing him and having played with him already,” Cole said, “there’s a little different feel. But, at the same time, those guys are veterans and you have to show respect.”
Cole also leans on younger veterans like Jeff Locke whose locker is next to his at McKechnie Field.
And it is a closely-knit pitching staff, which Burnett sees to by hosting “Walking Dead” parties Sunday nights to watch the popular TV show.
“It’s mandatory for pitchers,” Cole said.
He also said that he’s not really a fan of the show, but he is a fan of hanging out with his older teammates.
One of the big topics that will continue to simmer in Bradenton is does Cole have a chance to make the Major League team out of Spring Training?
“They haven’t told me I haven’t (got a chance), Cole said. “And I’m still here.”
Should he actually go north to Pittsburgh in April, Cole has the obvious answer.
“I’d be ecstatic and thrilled to get the opportunity to get some wins up there,” Cole said.
Listen to the interview here: