Here in East Texas we love our football, but we can't forget about baseball with Spring Training camps kicking off in about three short weeks.
We have a pool of East Texas talent in the major leagues. Many were training in Tyler Thursday before they go off to their respective ball clubs. That included former Angelina College Roadrunner Josh Tomlin.
Fresh off a new deal with the Cleveland Indians, the East Texas native was working up a sweat to prove he's worth the money.
“It's fun to have a facility like this to be able to come back and see other guys from the area you know and are familiar with from watching them play or hearing their name,” said Tomlin. “It's fun and actually probably one of the better places I've ever seen or been to so it's great it's here in Tyler.”
After signing a $2.25 million dollar contract to avoid arbitration for this upcoming year, the Indians put a second offer on the table for Tomlin. The deal included a $2.5 million extension for 2017 and a $3 million club option for 2018 that includes a $750,000 buyout.
“It's a lot of fun to know where you're going to be the next couple years and hopefully three years, but nothing is certain in this game. There’s always injuries,” said Tomlin.
Injuries are something the 31-year-old is quite familiar with.
Coming off a season where he was sidelined most of the year after shoulder surgery, the right hander returned to the mound just in time for the final seven weeks of the season. Tomlin had 10 starts and finished with a 3.02 ERA in a little over 65 innings.
“For me it's just going out there enjoying every day, every pitch and every game I get to play in because it's a fun ride I get to be on,” said Tomlin.
The former Roadrunner has six years of experience in the major leagues, and joining him in his workouts are younger players like Michael Kopech.
Kopech, another pitcher from Mount Pleasant under the Red Sox minor league system, has taken advantage of learning from a guy like Tomlin.
“Tomlin has talked to me a lot this year. We had video analysis upstairs and he will sit there, breakdown our pitching mechanics and he'll look at stuff I never thought of looking at before,” said Kopech. “It's really helpful. He's a guy who goes out there and throws strikes. I had a lot of walks this year so if I can eliminate those walks and take after Tomlin a little bit, then that will help me a lot.”
“I encourage them to ask questions. I've been through the whole minor league system with the Indians. I've been there, been here going on 10 years now so I've been through everything they're about to go through. I love it when they ask me questions and I try to be the best example I can be for them,” said Tomlin.
Tomlin will report to the Indians Spring Training camp in Goodyear, Arizona starting February 17th.