Gosewisch hopes homecoming provides boost

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Drafted out of Arizona State in the 11th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft by the Phillies, new D-backs catcher Tuffy Gosewisch steadily climbed Philadelphia's organizational ladder the first five years of his professional career.

By midway through the 2009 season, he'd made it to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, on the doorstep of the big leagues.

That, however, is where his progression stalled.

Now three years and a stop in the Toronto farm system later, the graduate of Scottsdale Horizon High School is hoping that a homecoming can eventually help him take that final step to the Majors.

"I'm really excited to be here, back in my hometown and with the team I grew up watching," said Gosewisch, who signed with the D-backs last winter. "I feel like I have a really good opportunity here. I heard great things about the organization, and just from being here a couple of weeks, I think everything I heard is true."

For now, the competition to back up Miguel Montero on the Opening Day roster is being held between veterans Rod Barajas and Wil Nieves, but Gosewisch believes he has a chance to make an impact should an injury or anything else happen.

"Obviously, the goal is to be in the big leagues and stick around for a while, but whatever my role is, I'm going to do it as well as I can," Gosewisch said. "It's hard, but at the same time, you have to work the same every day. I do everything I can, and the rest I can't control."

Last season, between the Triple-A affiliates of Toronto and Philadelphia, Gosewisch hit a combined .234, but over his final 24 games, he posted a .365 on-base percentage, which gives him confidence in camp with his new squad.

"I want to continue to get better at everything," he said. "Mostly, though, it's trying to get to know the pitchers. It's a brand-new staff for me, and I want to understand what they want to do in their game plan."

As for being in his hometown, Gosewisch is enjoying spending time with family and friends, finally being able to take advantage of the Cactus League's location rather than being in Florida, where he was his first six springs.

"I definitely can't complain," he said. "Most of my family is still here in town, so it's nice to see them whenever I want."