Cubs Prospect Interview: John Gaub

The Cubs acquired left-hander John Gaub in the off-season as part of a four-player trade with the Cleveland Indians that included Mark DeRosa. Gaub, 23, appeared in 34 games for Class A Lake County of the South Atlantic League and was 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA, amassing 100 strikeouts to 32 walks in 64 innings in 2008. Gaub was a 21st-round Indians draft pick in 2006 from Minnesota.

Q: Everyone always asks this, but did it come as a surprise when you learned you'd been traded last offseason?

A: It definitely was a surprise. I wasn't expecting anything, especially being kind of in the situation I was in with my injury history. It was the kind of thing where it was shocking, but it's what happens in pro baseball. You have to take it for what it is and look forward to what's ahead.

Q: Walk us through your injury timetable and your return.

A: After my sophomore year in college, I had a shoulder scope and tried rehabbing. Going into my junior year, things weren't really going too well. I tried pitching through it, but things weren't really working out. I got lucky and the Indians drafted me in 2006. I signed, went to rehab and things still weren't getting any better, so I (saw) a doctor and had a second surgery and had four screws put in my shoulder. I spent all of 2007 doing rehab. I pitched a little bit in 2007 in rookie ball and in 2008 I made my debut. I had a good year and last off-season I was traded, so here I am now.

Q: The Cubs say you're a two-pitch pitcher (fastball, slider) for the most part. Is that an accurate summation?

A: For the most part. I have a good fastball. My slider is good, but there's definitely room for improvement. I haven't changed it up, though; I trust it and it's good. It's a good third pitch, especially for right-handers. I'm still working on it, but I've had success with it this spring. Hopefully I just keep getting better with it and see where it goes this season.

Q: Do you consider yourself a true ‘bullpen' prospect or do you think there might be a chance of you starting games?

A: Probably not. With all that my shoulder has been through, once I get into high pitch counts, my shoulder really has a harder time recovering. I know I usually throw two innings at a time at most; 40 pitches and my arm feels pretty good the next day. I'm sure that's where I'll stay.

Q: What have you worked on in camp?

A: I've just been working on my delivery a little bit and cleaning up some things; keeping my weight back over my back leg and not getting too far up front where I release the ball. It's nothing major; just some minor things to help a little with my arm. Overall, I'm working on the command of my fastball especially.

Q: Are you happy with your velocity since the surgery?

A: Last year when I was pitching early, I was anywhere probably 88 to 90 (mph). Then the year went on and I started to feel a little better as I got farther and farther from my surgery. By the end of the year, I was probably 91 to 92. My fastball got a little better as the year went on. There were a few times last year I was around 94. I'm hoping to get it back up to 95.

Q: How much do you know about Jeff Stevens and Chris Archer, who came over with you in the DeRosa trade? Did you ‘scout' either of them when you were with the Indians?

A: When I came over, it was the first time I'd ever actually met Stevens. I had never seen him pitch and really didn't know a whole lot about him. But Archer, I played with Archer all of last year. He's young and throws the crap out of the ball. His command is a little erratic, but he's not far from figuring it out and once he does, he's going to be something special.

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