Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Awe Shucks Gerrit Cole Had a Difficult Time Separating the Fan That He Is Wit the Pitcher That He Is While in Cincinnati This Week

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Awe Shucks Gerrit Cole Had a Difficult Time Separating the Fan That He Is Wit the Pitcher That He Is While in Cincinnati This Week

Article excerpt

Gerrit Cole's company made him nervous. He knew he belonged, knew his performance warranted his selection to the National League All- Star team, even heard as much from his All-Star teammates.

But his company made him nervous because of the combination of his respect for those players and his newfound status as one of them. Cole doesn't miss much. He is cognizant of just about everything, including what those players have accomplished in their careers and how they did it.

"It's been three months," Cole said. "You don't get paid $215 million for doing it for three months. You get paid $215 million for doing it for like seven years."

The $215 million Cole mentioned referred to the money Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young award winner and last season's NL MVP, will earn during his seven-year contract. He then mentioned Zack Greinke and Chris Sale, others in the category of the best of the best, others who have done it for years.

"I'm a little bit uncomfortable and nervous around some of these faces," Cole said. "I am a fan of the game outside of just a player, so I respect a lot of people's games in here."

It has only been three months for Cole, but what a three months it has been. The 24-year-old right-hander selected first overall in the 2011 draft has a 2.30 ERA, the fifth-best mark in the NL. His 1171/3 innings are tied for eighth, his 116 strikeouts rank ninth. He wants to extend the good performance. He said he has heard from other players not to force things, don't get ahead of himself, trust his abilities. "I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing, because from all the compliments I've received so far, it sounds like I'm on the right track," he said.

"When Greinke's talking to me about how fantastic he thinks my slider is [Monday], I was like, 'My slider? Let's talk about your slider, bro, all right?'

"David Price comes and finds me out in the lobby and says, 'Dude, I really enjoy watching you pitch.' I'm just like, 'What's wrong with you? Watch your own games, bro. I just throw fastballs inside. You're painting all over the place, striking the world out.' "

Cole's tone softens the words. …

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