Heading into his club-leading 11th season as a Kansas City Royal, pitcher Jimmy Gobble is looking to avoid the mental blocks that made 2008 a year to forget.
According to the Lawrence Journal-World and News, the Bristol native and alum of John S. Battle High School ended the season 0-2 with an 8.81 earned-run average in 39 relief appearances -- his worst showing since Kansas City drafted him 43rd overall in 1999.
“You have good years, you have bad years, and some years you just don’t have it at all,” said Gobble, 27. “Hopefully, I can rebound from that and learn a lesson from what happened last year. Obviously, it can make me a better pitcher in the long run.”
He attributed the problems to an initial run of bad performances, which he said he made worse by overcompensating to show then-rookie manager Trey Hillman that he still had the goods. He was 4-1 with a 3.02 ERA in 74 relief appearances in 2007 and led the team in strikeouts in 2006.
“When you’re mad, you can’t do anything right,” he said. “That’s a hard lesson to learn. I just wished it wouldn’t have taken me five months to get it.”
By September, following a stint on the disabled list with a bad back, Gobble began to pitch well again, not allowing a run in seven innings and holding hitters to a .192 average.
Gobble said he’s thankful that the bulk of his 2008 season didn’t end his career with the Royals. During his tenure, he’s served under two general managers, four managers and four big league pitching coaches.
“When you think about it honestly, I felt like they could have gone a different way and we could have parted ways (after last year),” Gobble said. “I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to end on that note.”