Grossman Can't Wait To Get Started

Chris Grossman, the newest catcher in the Yankees' farm system has followed a similar path of current New York farmhand Justin Christian, proving himself in the Independent League prior to signing with the Bombers. A complete catcher, the former University of California backstop has battled injuries and is very excited about beginning his career with the Yankees in Spring Training.

Chris Grossman earned a reputation as one of the top collegiate catchers while playing for the University of California, becoming a semi-finalist for the Johnny Bench Award after hitting .341 with 16 doubles, 8 home runs, and 45 RBI in 52 games.

After spurning professional interest in him after his great junior year to finish his college education and return to Cal for his last year of eligibility, Grossman's final year was cut short with a shoulder injury.

"I was not drafted after my junior year because I was going back for my senior year," Grossman explained to PinstripesPlus.com in a recent interview. "Then my senior year, I injured my shoulder and nobody drafted me. I took a year off to rehab the shoulder and then played independent ball."

"I had a partial tear on the rotator cuff on my throwing shoulder," Grossman continue. "My swing and my arm kept feeling better after the surgery. Sometimes now I feel so I could that I can't even tell I had the surgery. I used to take care of my shoulder before the injury, but not like I have after the surgery.

The injury and subsequent injury was serious enough to shake off any interest Major League ball clubs had in the catcher. In fact, hardly anybody wanted to take a chance on him until he could show them he was healthy.

"Yeah, it was a little bit surprising and disappointing because of the year I had in my junior year," the new Yankees' catching prospect told us. "All the teams that had interest in me wanted me to prove I was healthy in independent ball, but most teams didn't seem to care anymore because they went in their own direction."

With interest in him waning, Grossman took the advice and decided to show he was better than ever by playing with the Sioux City Explorers in 2005. Grossman not only showed he was healthy, but hit .314 with 100 hits and 48 RBI for the Explorers. However, Grossman knew the Independent League was just a stepping stone towards something bigger and better.

"I was contacting all the different teams to see who I could play for," Grossman explained. "After analyzing what they had in the farm system, I thought I would have a good chance to move up with the Yankees. They were the best fit for me."

Mostly happy to be a part of the Yankees now, Grossman is almost equally as happy to be out of Independent League baseball.

"It was definitely a new experience," Grossman said of playing in the Independent League. "Don't get me wrong. I loved the idea of playing baseball everyday as a job. But some of the travel and more so the fields weren't all that great. In fact, some of the other guys were telling me, 'don't think pro ball is like this'. The teams and the fields just weren't that well run. It is not really a system designed to help you move up. They just want to field the best possible team. I prefer not to go back and do it again."

With the disappointments of not being drafted, the return from a serious shoulder injury, and the experience of playing non-organizational professional baseball behind him, Chris Grossman is just looking ahead to his time and future development in the Yankees' organization.

"I'm really excited," an elated Grossman exclaimed. "It is just such a great opportunity to play with the Yankees. It is every ballplayer's dream to play for a team with such a rich tradition. Growing up, they were always doing so well. As a baseball player, I can't think of a better team to play for."

"They've got some good talent in their farm system but they've lost some guys in trades," Grossman continued. "I think though that they've got a good system with some great coaches and instructors."

Chris Grossman considers himself a complete player behind the plate.

"I've always been a catch and throw catcher," Grossman said when giving a scouting report of himself. "Lately, I've been making a name for myself offensively. I've been trying to become the whole package.

In fact, Grossman is a confident player who models himself after some familiar catchers to Yankees' fans.

"As a player, I'd like to compare myself to Jorge Posada or Jason Varitek because both are solid defensively and they do what they are supposed to do and help out on the offensive side."

One of the big allures for a catcher of Grossman's early career path is the stability of working with some of the same pitchers on a continued basis. He's looking forward to catching the likes of Phil Hughes, Tyler Clippard, and the other Yankees' pitching prospects.

"At times, I'm not controlling the game enough as a catcher," Gross confessed. "When you're moving through professional baseball, you don't get a chance to know the pitchers very well. You don't know which pitchers need to be coddled, which ones need a fire lit under them, that type of thing. You're alway working with different guys and it takes time to learn each's guys tendencies."

It seems as if the newest Yankees' catching prospect may get his wish and wind up working with some of the elite pitching prospects quickly.

"We talked about it," Grossman said of where he'll most likely start in the Yankees' organization. "It is most likely going to be high-A or AA because I was a four-year guy in college and I played some pro ball in the independent league. That was the idea I had going in when I signed with the Yankees."

While Grossman is looking towards the stability of playing in an organization like the Yankees, an aspect of professional baseball that has escaped him thus far, he's more interested in receiving top-notch instruction and developing his game. That's the part he simply can't wait to begin.

"Once I get to camp, I just want to make myself the best player I can be," an excited Grossman told us. "I'm just looking forward to getting started and working with the coaches. I'm anxious to get working with the Yankees' staff."

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nChris Grossman earned a reputation as one of the top collegiate catchers while playing for the University of California, becoming a semi-finalist for the Johnny Bench Award after hitting .341 with 16 doubles, 8 home runs, and 45 RBI in 52 games.
\r\n
\r\nAfter spurning professional interest in him after his great junior year to finish his college education and return to Cal for his last year of eligibility, Grossman's final year was cut short with a shoulder injury.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was not drafted after my junior year because I was going back for my senior year,\" Grossman explained to PinstripesPlus.com in a recent interview. \"Then my senior year, I injured my shoulder and nobody drafted me. I took a year off to rehab the shoulder and then played independent ball.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I had a partial tear on the rotator cuff on my throwing shoulder,\" Grossman continue. \"My swing and my arm kept feeling better after the surgery. Sometimes now I feel so I could that I can't even tell I had the surgery. I used to take care of my shoulder before the injury, but not like I have after the surgery.
\r\n
\r\nThe injury and subsequent injury was serious enough to shake off any interest Major League ball clubs had in the catcher. In fact, hardly anybody wanted to take a chance on him until he could show them he was healthy.
\r\n
\r\n\"Yeah, it was a little bit surprising and disappointing because of the year I had in my junior year,\" the new Yankees' catching prospect told us. \"All the teams that had interest in me wanted me to prove I was healthy in independent ball, but most teams didn't seem to care anymore because they went in their own direction.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith interest in him waning, Grossman took the advice and decided to show he was better than ever by playing with the Sioux City Explorers in 2005. Grossman not only showed he was healthy, but hit .314 with 100 hits and 48 RBI for the Explorers. However, Grossman knew the Independent League was just a stepping stone towards something bigger and better.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was contacting all the different teams to see who I could play for,\" Grossman explained. \"After analyzing what they had in the farm system, I thought I would have a good chance to move up with the Yankees. They were the best fit for me.\"
\r\n
\r\nMostly happy to be a part of the Yankees now, Grossman is almost equally as happy to be out of Independent League baseball.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was definitely a new experience,\" Grossman said of playing in the Independent League. \"Don't get me wrong. I loved the idea of playing baseball everyday as a job. But some of the travel and more so the fields weren't all that great. In fact, some of the other guys were telling me, 'don't think pro ball is like this'. The teams and the fields just weren't that well run. It is not really a system designed to help you move up. They just want to field the best possible team. I prefer not to go back and do it again.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith the disappointments of not being drafted, the return from a serious shoulder injury, and the experience of playing non-organizational professional baseball behind him, Chris Grossman is just looking ahead to his time and future development in the Yankees' organization.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm really excited,\" an elated Grossman exclaimed. \"It is just such a great opportunity to play with the Yankees. It is every ballplayer's dream to play for a team with such a rich tradition. Growing up, they were always doing so well. As a baseball player, I can't think of a better team to play for.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"They've got some good talent in their farm system but they've lost some guys in trades,\" Grossman continued. \"I think though that they've got a good system with some great coaches and instructors.\"
\r\n
\r\nChris Grossman considers himself a complete player behind the plate.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've always been a catch and throw catcher,\" Grossman said when giving a scouting report of himself. \"Lately, I've been making a name for myself offensively. I've been trying to become the whole package.
\r\n
\r\nIn fact, Grossman is a confident player who models himself after some familiar catchers to Yankees' fans.
\r\n
\r\n\"As a player, I'd like to compare myself to Jorge Posada or Jason Varitek because both are solid defensively and they do what they are supposed to do and help out on the offensive side.\"
\r\n
\r\nOne of the big allures for a catcher of Grossman's early career path is the stability of working with some of the same pitchers on a continued basis. He's looking forward to catching the likes of Phil Hughes, Tyler Clippard, and the other Yankees' pitching prospects.
\r\n
\r\n\"At times, I'm not controlling the game enough as a catcher,\" Gross confessed. \"When you're moving through professional baseball, you don't get a chance to know the pitchers very well. You don't know which pitchers need to be coddled, which ones need a fire lit under them, that type of thing. You're alway working with different guys and it takes time to learn each's guys tendencies.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt seems as if the newest Yankees' catching prospect may get his wish and wind up working with some of the elite pitching prospects quickly.
\r\n
\r\n\"We talked about it,\" Grossman said of where he'll most likely start in the Yankees' organization. \"It is most likely going to be high-A or AA because I was a four-year guy in college and I played some pro ball in the independent league. That was the idea I had going in when I signed with the Yankees.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile Grossman is looking towards the stability of playing in an organization like the Yankees, an aspect of professional baseball that has escaped him thus far, he's more interested in receiving top-notch instruction and developing his game. That's the part he simply can't wait to begin.
\r\n
\r\n\"Once I get to camp, I just want to make myself the best player I can be,\" an excited Grossman told us. \"I'm just looking forward to getting started and working with the coaches. I'm anxious to get working with the Yankees' staff.\"
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