For Dodgers catching prospect, Gorman Erickson, spring training isn’t as much about honing his skills as it is just figuring out how the whole process actually works.
Gorman, or Griff, as he’s known around Dodger Town, is wrapping up his first stint at a big league spring training after playing as a professional since the 2007 season. The catcher has already been reassigned to minor-league camp, where his eventual landing spot is still unknown.
Luckily, finding an opening on the Dodgers starting roster takes a back seat to simply finding out where the camp-rookie is supposed to be on a day-to-day basis.
“I haven’t seen the way (camp) is perceived when you’re a player,” Erickson told Dodgers Independent Blogger Kenny Shulsen. “The little things you have to do – how to get to the clubhouse, how to deal with people, where you’re staying – the team has done a really good job helping us out with all the small things you need to know when you get to the big leagues.”
Like how to approach your first at-bat when you hit the diamond in Glendale, Arizona?
“The first at-bat didn’t go so well,” Erickson laughed. “It was all just a blur that first time. I then settled in and got a few knocks in there.”
Griff didn’t get a chance to settle in for too long before the Dodgers gave him the expected news of playing in the minors. Erickson originally survived the first round on of cuts on March 15, but faced the inevitable reassignment almost halfway through spring training on March 18.
“It’s like everyone always says, you just have to keep working hard,” Erickson said. “Every day is a competition. You have to go out there and leave it all on the field and try as hard as you possibly can.”
That’s the kind of refreshing attitude found only in a player who’s happy just to be at spring training.
Still, even after adjusting to the workout’s daily grind, Griff admitted the Major League learning curve is an eye-opening experience.
“You don’t know what it’s like until you actually get here and get to talk to all the guys,” Erickson said. “You realize just how much information and how many little things you can pick up… if you’re willing to. It’s unbelievable”
After being drafted in 2006, Griff signed with the Dodgers organization at the start of the ’07 season. He’s suited up for parts of three seasons in Rookie ball, two in Single-A, one in Double-A and a few games at the Triple-A level. This year’s spring training may serve as the eventual launching pad for Erickson’s MLB debut.
“It’s a great introduction to what life would be like when you get called up,” Erickson told MiLB.com. “Coming to your first big league camp it’s all about soaking up all the information you can. Just being here for the short amount of time I have, I still feel like I’ve added a lot of things to my game.
His question now becomes not IF he will be a part of the Dodgers organization, but WHERE in the minors he’ll actually end up.
But to Erickson, that’s not really an issue.
“Any chance is a good chance,” he said. “It’s another opportunity for me to be a part of something bigger.”