Gibson "Rolls" Through Solid Season

EVERETT, Wash. - Friday's loss to Salem-Keizer marked the official death of the Everett AquaSox hopes for a postseason berth in 2005. After a hard-fought rollercoaster season, the Sox are forced to play out the remainder of their games and look forward to 2006.

Those that excelled in 2005 will likely find themselves wearing new jerseys come next year. Others will spend the winter gearing up for another run at the Northwest League Championship with Everett next season.

For players like pitcher Rollie Gibson, however, this season's twilight will offer up an opportunity to further cement their role within Seattle's organization and define the type of player they'll eventually be.

Gibson's role so far has been that of a reliever, though the big left-hander has traditionally worked as a starter, a position Gibson would like to find himself in as he works his way through the minor league ranks.

"I love starting," said Gibson. "I've always been a starter. When I was a junior in college, they used me in relief as a closer for the days I wasn't starting. If you ask me what I want to do, I want to be a starter."

The 2004 30th round draft-and-follow spent the ‘04 season at Fresno City College, compiling a 10-1 record. He returned for another year in 2005 before being assigned to Everett, where he's enjoyed a solid year. Gibson has posted a 3-2 record over 14 appearances with a 5.01 ERA, though he remains critical of his own work.

"I could've thrown a lot better," said the Clovis, Calif., native. "I had a lot of games where I threw really good and I had a couple games where I threw bad—that's the reason why my ERA is so high."

Despite his shortcomings, Gibson feels that he's improved in the last few weeks and has a good shot at coming back stronger next year.

"I would've liked to have had a lower ERA," said Gibson. "I would've liked to have had fewer walks, but with the changes that I've made these last few weeks, I've been happy with what's happened since then and I'm really happy with what I did before that, I just had a couple outings where I had a couple rough spots and it cost me a couple runs.

"As a reliever, you don't get very many chances and the chances you get are one or two innings, so if you give up a run, your ERA really jumps around."

Last Wednesday, Gibson had a chance to step out of the bullpen and was awarded with his first start of the season in what was then a pivotal game against the division-leading Vancouver Canadians. He looked impressive through 3.1 innings of work, before loading the bases in the fourth and giving up a grand slam to Vancouver's Chad Boyd.

"I threw really good [Wednesday]," he said. "Take one pitch away and it's a better game, but that's the thing about baseball - you can't take anything away."

The grand slam was ultimately the difference-maker as Everett lost the game, 5-1, but it certainly didn't take away from the eight strikeouts that Gibson recorded while facing 10 hitters. The start served as something of a test for Gibson and while he was forced to shoulder the loss, he caming away feeling as though he'd proven himself enough to earn some attention going into next year.

"I made some changes about three weeks ago that I've really taken to and that have really helped me within just my last two outings," said Gibson. "I'm going into instructional league, so we'll see how that goes. I feel like I've got a lot of potential."

Gibson will be looking for any opportunity available to him in the next few days, all the while keeping in mind his game plan for next year.

"[I want to] lose some weight, be able to command all three of my pitches a little better, and just have better mound presence," Gibson said.

With the AquaSox now mathematically eliminated from the Northwest League Championship picture, Gibson may be given another chance to prove himself before the season's end. After having finished off their series with Salem-Keizer on Sunday, the Sox head off to Eugene for a three-game set to finish the year.

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