Yost believes Gagne will come around
Skipper has faith new closer will hit regular season running
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Brewers manager Ned Yost knows how to say, "Good morning," in French, thanks to his new closer. Other than that, Eric Gagne remains a bit of an enigma in Brewers camp.
And that's perfectly OK, according to Yost.
"He's a different animal," Yost said. "You won't know here. You have to understand these are special types of individuals. They have been in this game a long time and they know what it takes to be successful.
"The main thing that kicks in for them is adrenaline, and they don't get adrenaline in Spring Training. So you're not going to see the real Gagne until the season starts."
Gagne has pitched in three Cactus League games, allowing three runs on six hits with one strikeout. But his last two outings have been in Minor League camp, including a one-inning stint Saturday against an A's Triple-A squad. Gagne surrendered a home run, but no other damage in his inning of work.
Gagne signed a one-year, $10 million contract with Milwaukee after a Jekyll and Hyde 2007 season split between Texas (2.16 ERA as the closer) and Boston (6.75 ERA as a setup man). Yost talked during the offseason with Red Sox manager Terry Francona, a former Montreal teammate of Yost's, and Francona agreed that the new role contributed to Gagne's struggles.
Forget Boston, Yost said Sunday.
"If he's throwing 89 or 90 mph [in Spring Training], he's OK," Yost said. "He's going to be all right, because when the season starts, with his adrenaline and his focus and intensity, he's going to be up to 93. So he's just working on spotting his fastball, getting the spin on his breaking ball right now, and getting ready for crunch time, when it matters. These guys do not get themselves all 'geeked up' in Spring Training."
Gagne has been working in the 90-91 mph range this spring, Yost said. The Brewers have set Gagne's schedule, but he has had some say regarding his workload within that schedule.
Yost has faith that Gagne will hit the regular season running.
"It's not blind faith. It's solid faith," Yost said. "I've seen Gagne pitch a time or two before."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.