Sanbornton’s Jordan Cote will soon be heading back down to Florida after a few months reacquainting himself with the Lakes Region.
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December 27, 2012REGION – It's been a long offseason for Jordan Cote. The Sanbornton native is ready for a new year, and a new chance to show his stuff in the world of professional baseball.
Cote, the third round pick of the New York Yankees in 2011, finished his first full year of pro ball by dominating hitters in the Gulf Coast League (rookie ball). The big right-hander struck out 25 batters in 27.2 innings, compiling a perfect 3-0 record with a 0.98 ERA. But Cote's summer came to a close on July 19, when the organization shut him down due to some tendinitis. He pitched again for just four innings during instructional league action in the fall to show he was on the road to recovery, and he's been back in New Hampshire since the beginning of October.
"I think it was definitely a successful year," Cote said. "I set goals in the spring, I knew what I wanted to do in the season and accomplish. I pitched well, didn't walk a lot of guys which has always been my main focus to control my fastball and develop off speed pitches. My changeup was my out pitch by the end of the year. I threw it in high school but it wasn't a primary pitch. I didn't have to throw it so I didn't."
Cote shut down his workouts while recovering from the injury, and he didn't get back in the gym until the beginning of November. Since then, he's been working out in Laconia in preparation for spring training, which he'll report to on Jan. 14.
"Everyone that ended the season on the DL has to go back early," said Cote of his stint on the disabled list. "They want to monitor you and your throwing program but it's pretty laid back until the full start of camp."
Playing games in the GCL felt a little different for Cote, who was used to big crowds watching him on a daily basis during a storied career at Winnisquam Regional High School. But in rookie leagues, crowds don't flock to the ballparks. Cote said there were home games at the Yankees complex in Tampa, Fla. that had maybe 15 people in attendance. The "big" crowds came when the team played at the complex at Disney World, where 75-100 people were likely to be wandering around the park.
"It's hard, honestly," said Cote of the daily grind. "You walk out at 1 o'clock in the afternoon and it's 98 degrees with 100 percent humidity. There's really nothing to get you hyped or going, you're just here playing baseball. This year I was down there from Jan. 17 to Oct. 5…just the same thing every day, going to play baseball in front of a few people."
Cote's Yankees, who won the league title in 2011, started off the GCL season in prime form, as the club opened the year 13-1. But the Yankees fell apart down the stretch, with a losing streak coinciding with his injury.
Cote admits the GCL was a pitcher-friendly league, with hitters taking longer to adjust to the wooden bats and other factors. The pitching is usually ahead of the hitting in professional baseball, he explained.
"You see pitchers in spring training and it just takes them two or three starts to get back into the routine," he said. "But hitters, it takes them a little longer to catch up. Even with the big league guys, some won't be back in the groove until into the regular season. The competition (in the GCL) was a lot of Latin players and first-year hitters."
Cote's numbers speak for themselves, but he said that wasn't the main focus during the season.
"My results were good but the organization doesn't really care about results," he explained. "They look at the long term aspect. I think one game my mom called me afterwards and said I pitched a great game. Well, not really. I gave up one hit in four innings but I left my fastball up all day and my flyball to groundout ration was 5:1. Technically it was good results but that's not what you want. At this level, you have to be a perfectionist with everything."
Now focused on the 2013 season, Cote hopes to continue his ascent up the minor league ladder. But the 20-year old is just taking it one day at a time.
"I'm just trying to head to spring training ready to go," he said. "I want to show I can pitch on a full season roster and hopefully get out of there and go to Charleston (S.C., Single A affiliate). I don't know if they want me to go to short season for some more innings or what not but I know (being on a full season roster is) my goal. I just want to have a year where I'm healthy and I continue to get stronger. I feel good right now after getting back into the weight room so I'm looking forward to it."