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AOL: UCLA's Gerrit Cole "Finding Himself" In Westwood "After Spurning Yankees"

<em>Photo Credit: Don Liebig, ASUCLA</em>
Photo Credit: Don Liebig, ASUCLA

Fantastic piece from Tom Krasovic at the MLB Fanhouse:

Went to UCLA to see Gerrit Cole, known to the greater baseball world as the pitcher who spurned the Yankees  two summers ago.

Cole grew up in freeway-laden Orange County but he's what baseball men describe as "country strong." Reached 98 miles per hour on this April night. His thick legs supplying ample horsepower, the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder held 95 mph through his 111th pitch at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Later, when asked about his performance, Cole talked first about the UCLA team. Nice touch. The 19-year-old looks you in the eyes when he speaks. Upshot of his comments was, he loves the UCLA life. Also, both Cole and the Yankees are rooting for another, as you'll hear.

If you want to read a feel-good story about Cole, West Coast Bias can't give you only that here. It'd be an Alcindor-length stretch to say the Cole saga is all rainbows and roses. The Yankees didn't like getting stiffed, which is how they saw it. And the Bruins' sophomore, like a lot of collegians, is taking steps both sideways and forward in the hopscotch of life.

He's more chucker than pitcher at this stage, as his 35 walks in 69 1/3 innings attest. The right-hander, who admires Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, is still searching for a groove.

"I've got to keep working hard in the middle of the week between starts," he said. "I need to keep coming out with that aggressive mentality, pound first-pitch strikes a little better."

You can read rest of it here.

Cole and his team-mates will try to get back in the groove (well at least in the Pac-10) when they take on the Huskies tonight in Seattle. The first pitch is scheduled for tonight at 6 pm PST. You can also follow along with GameTracker or get updates on Ryan's UCLA baseball twitter. So might as well thread this as our game thread with updates, thoughts, analysis and anything else.