Gillespie Glad to Be Back With D-backs
By Josh Greene
Hopefully, the fourth time is the charm.
Less than a week after his Reno Aces were eliminated from the Pacific Coast League playoffs, outfielder Cole Gillespie joined the D-backs for his fourth call-up with the parent club and his first of the season.
“This is great,” said the 27-year-old, who was recalled before Friday’s D-backs-Padres game. “I’ve been anticipating this call. It didn’t happen right away after I finished up down there, but it’s never too late to get called up. I’m excited to be up here, especially with the playoff run, so it’s good to be up here.
“It would be great to get to the postseason at two different levels this year. This team’s doing well, but we have some games yet until we clinch anything, so we don’t want to get too ahead of ourselves.”
Two years after being acquired via trade with the Brewers, Gillespie batted .300 for the Aces in 2011 with 12 home runs, 16 triples, 79 RBI and 100 runs scored in 137 games. He also finished second in the PCL in runs, triples and walks (81), while establishing a career-high with 24 stolen bases.
“I was happy with the season I had down there,” he said. “I did a lot of good things, and there are things I wish I had done better in terms of goals I set for myself. I’m glad things worked out and to get a call up here in September. That’s what you play for, so I’m excited to be a part of it.
“Last year, there were times I was pressing a little bit. This year, along with my experience from last year, I try to do the things I’m capable of doing. Right now, I need to relax, stick to my game and not do too much. The one thing I wasn’t too happy about was my walk-to-strikeout ratio. I take a lot of pride on getting on base. Hopefully, I can continue what I did in Triple-A up here.”
On Friday, D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he was thrilled to have another go-to option on his roster card – especially one in the form of an experienced, fleet-footed outfielder who’s willing to make any kind of contribution he can.
“Anytime my name is called,” Gillespie said, “I’m just looking for a way to help the team. Whether it’s coming off the bench or as a defensive replacement, I just want to give it my all and hopefully energize this team. I don’t know if they need it. They’re playing pretty well overall.”
Last year, Gillespie hit .231 (24-for-104) with 11 runs, 8 doubles, 2 home runs and 12 RBI in 45 games over three separate stints with the D-backs. When he joined the club before the start of the weekend series in San Diego, it didn’t take long for him to recognize a very noticeable change in the Arizona clubhouse.
“It’s a different atmosphere now from what was here last year,” he said. “Last year was a long season, even with me being up and down a lot. Just being here a few days, I can tell the attitude has changed. There more smiling and more energy each day. Gibby expects a lot with his players. He keeps us loose, but demands a lot. The team has responded pretty well. Obviously they made a lot of moves in the offseason, but Gibby’s done a great job, and we’re just following his lead.”