Andrew Cruse: Where is he now?
Since being selected in the 9th round of the 2006 draft by the Philadelphia Phillies organization, Andrew Cruse has done nothing but improve at the game. For those who don't know much about this former Gamecock standout, Cruse has come back from a series of injuries and performed better and better every time. In 2004, Cruse had to take a medical redshirt to get Labrum Surgery in his shoulder, which is often referred to as baseball's most feared surgery. He bounced back in 2005, and put together a solid season; however, it was cut short due to an incident in which he was stabbed. As always, he was able to rehab and bounce back. Cruse was asked if there were any regrets about his college career and if he had any regrets leaving school early.
"I don't think so. I always tried to play as hard as I could," said Cruse. "I do wish I had a winning record against Clemson. I was 2–2. The only thing I would say I regret is missing the regional at Georgia Tech due to the stabbing. It would have been nice to go to a world series or even win one for that matter. Looking back, I don't think I have any regrets at all. I had a great time at Carolina, and the fans are great."
Andrew started his first season in the minors last year playing for the Batavia Muckdogs in New York. He then moved to the Williamsport Cosscutters (short season A ball) in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. This coming season he is projected to start out playing for the Lakewood BlueClaws (low A) in Lakewood, New Jersey. Ideally, Cruse would like to end the season playing high A ball in Clearwater, Florida, for the Clearwater thrashers. When asked what steps he has taken this offseason to stay in shape, Cruse replied that he has worked out in Columbia just like old times.
"South Carolina has been great to its former players allowing us to work out and still use the facilities. I have also been lifting and throwing with Kip Bouknight (former Gamecock ace). We also fit in about 45 minutes of short sprint drills a day. I have been working out Monday through Friday and giving my body time to rest on the weekends."
In his first year, Cruse posted a 4–4 record with a 2.57 era and 48 strikeouts in 13 starts (67 innings pitched). Spring training starts on March 1st for the Phillies down in Clearwater.
"It would be great to end the season in the same place it starts for me with spring training... in Clearwater."
Cruse closed by sharing what has helped him achieve the level of play he is at today.
"Hard work, that's the main thing. Talent can only take you so far. Going through surgery was big for me also. I couldn't throw as hard as I can now. Going through rehab really helped me increase my velocity behind pitches, which is good because the fastball is my favorite pitch. I think it shows batters that you are not afraid to challenge them when you throw a fastball. Also, the South Carolina program and the coaching staff here is excellent. I had the honor to work with Mark Calvi (pitching coach) who is one of the best in the nation. I feel like I played for the best program in the nation. What if I hadn't selected to play at this school? I wonder where I would have ended up. I don't think I would enjoy the same success I have today."
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