Kozlowski Shows His Versatility

Ben Kozlowski signed with the Yankees in order to prove that he was a capable reliever, but he even found himself starting in a pinch. His most recent start yielded six shutout innings and a crucial win during a tight playoff race. With the 2007 season winding down, he reflects upon his successful first season with the Yankees organization, and looks forward to a bright future with the team.

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"I originally signed with the Yankees as a reliever, so I came in with the mentality that I would be relieving and coming into those crucial points in the game: six, seven, eighth, or ninth inning, getting that big out or closing that big inning," said Ben Kozlowski.

"At this point in time, whatever I can do to help out the team, that is what my focus is. I don't mind being considered as a "long guy" on the team, weather it be starting games or coming in and giving a couple innings out of the way, it just shows more of what I can do, it shows my versatility."

Usually Kozlowski gets the majority of his work coming out of the pen where he has been tremendously effective this season, especially against left-handed batters, who only hit .173 against him. Aside from that very encouraging statistic, he has logged over 55 innings with a 2.56 earned run average as a reliever.

However, when the Triple-A club has needed a starting pitcher in a pinch, Kozlowski takes the ball without complaint. Although he has been better as a reliever in 2007, he has been able to keep his team in the game, and once in a while turns out a flawless start, like his most recent one against the Syracuse Chiefs back on August 17th.

"I was able to put up some good innings for the guys last time out. I was able to give them six strong, and at this point and time in the season, especially with us in a playoff race, it just gave us one more win out there for the team all around."

"I like doing what I can to contribute, and weather it's coming out of the bullpen or making a spot start, I just want to show my versatility," he added.

Versatility has been the name of the game for Kozlowski in 2007. He has seen time as a starter, reliever, and a situational pitcher - and has succeeded in every role.

"Personally, I just wanted to go out there and do the best I can every time I pitch. On a personal note, I wanted to put up some good numbers coming out of the bullpen and show that I can get left-handers out, so overall I think my goals are being met this season."

"I've had some ups and downs, and some things I've had to overcome, but the one thing I wanted to show this club and the Yankees organization that I can be consistent and that they can rely on me, and I want them to have confidence in what I can do because I have confidence in what I can do," he added.

Kozlowski has shown the Yankees what he is capable of too. After bouncing around the Reds and Dodgers organizations last season, he seems to have found a home with the Yankees organization.

"In the offseason I did have some opportunities to sign with some other teams, but when the Yankees came by I knew where I wanted to be. It really was an honor. They are not a team to go out and pick up just anybody, they are a high market team that can go out and get anybody they want, and I felt like I had something to contribute to their organization."

"I definitely want to play in the pinstripes, and one day in the Bronx, it would be a tremendous opportunity, and I cannot wait to help with what they are doing," Kozlowski said with a smile.

His vision of pitching in the Bronx does not override his current job, helping the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees to their first ever playoff appearance.

"Absolutely, I look forward to a chance at a September call-up. I want to keep taking the mound here and producing. I always want to keep knocking on the door."

"But overall, my focus is to help here in Scranton, to be with this team. We have a good shot at going to the playoffs, that is my focus right now. I want to help this team as much as I can."

If he does in fact receive a September promotion, it will put the perfect cherry atop an excellent season for the pitcher. Kowlowski is very deserving of the call, and he credits his season's success to a great deal of mental preparation and discipline in conditioning.

"I think for me, the biggest thing was preparation. This is my second year relieving, the biggest thing for me is finding what it takes to be mentally prepared."

"I always know I could be physically prepared for relief work, I'm quick to recover, and I have been pretty disciplined in my workouts, it's just finding a comfortable routine each and every night I am called upon."

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\r\n \r\n\r\n(FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT)
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\r\n\"I originally signed with the Yankees as a reliever, so I came in with the mentality that I would be relieving and coming into those crucial points in the game: six, seven, eighth, or ninth inning, getting that big out or closing that big inning,\" said Ben Kozlowski.
\r\n
\r\n\"At this point in time, whatever I can do to help out the team, that is what my focus is. I don't mind being considered as a \"long guy\" on the team, weather it be starting games or coming in and giving a couple innings out of the way, it just shows more of what I can do, it shows my versatility.\"
\r\n
\r\nUsually Kozlowski gets the majority of his work coming out of the pen where he has been tremendously effective this season, especially against left-handed batters, who only hit .173 against him. Aside from that very encouraging statistic, he has logged over 55 innings with a 2.56 earned run average as a reliever.
\r\n
\r\nHowever, when the Triple-A club has needed a starting pitcher in a pinch, Kozlowski takes the ball without complaint. Although he has been better as a reliever in 2007, he has been able to keep his team in the game, and once in a while turns out a flawless start, like his most recent one against the Syracuse Chiefs back on August 17th.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was able to put up some good innings for the guys last time out. I was able to give them six strong, and at this point and time in the season, especially with us in a playoff race, it just gave us one more win out there for the team all around.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I like doing what I can to contribute, and weather it's coming out of the bullpen or making a spot start, I just want to show my versatility,\" he added.
\r\n
\r\nVersatility has been the name of the game for Kozlowski in 2007. He has seen time as a starter, reliever, and a situational pitcher - and has succeeded in every role.
\r\n
\r\n\"Personally, I just wanted to go out there and do the best I can every time I pitch. On a personal note, I wanted to put up some good numbers coming out of the bullpen and show that I can get left-handers out, so overall I think my goals are being met this season.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I've had some ups and downs, and some things I've had to overcome, but the one thing I wanted to show this club and the Yankees organization that I can be consistent and that they can rely on me, and I want them to have confidence in what I can do because I have confidence in what I can do,\" he added.
\r\n
\r\nKozlowski has shown the Yankees what he is capable of too. After bouncing around the Reds and Dodgers organizations last season, he seems to have found a home with the Yankees organization.
\r\n
\r\n\"In the offseason I did have some opportunities to sign with some other teams, but when the Yankees came by I knew where I wanted to be. It really was an honor. They are not a team to go out and pick up just anybody, they are a high market team that can go out and get anybody they want, and I felt like I had something to contribute to their organization.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I definitely want to play in the pinstripes, and one day in the Bronx, it would be a tremendous opportunity, and I cannot wait to help with what they are doing,\" Kozlowski said with a smile.
\r\n
\r\nHis vision of pitching in the Bronx does not override his current job, helping the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees to their first ever playoff appearance.
\r\n
\r\n\"Absolutely, I look forward to a chance at a September call-up. I want to keep taking the mound here and producing. I always want to keep knocking on the door.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"But overall, my focus is to help here in Scranton, to be with this team. We have a good shot at going to the playoffs, that is my focus right now. I want to help this team as much as I can.\"
\r\n
\r\nIf he does in fact receive a September promotion, it will put the perfect cherry atop an excellent season for the pitcher. Kowlowski is very deserving of the call, and he credits his season's success to a great deal of mental preparation and discipline in conditioning.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think for me, the biggest thing was preparation. This is my second year relieving, the biggest thing for me is finding what it takes to be mentally prepared.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I always know I could be physically prepared for relief work, I'm quick to recover, and I have been pretty disciplined in my workouts, it's just finding a comfortable routine each and every night I am called upon.\"
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
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