Baseball: Sandburg alum Troy Jozsa aims to impress at Slammers training camp
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media May 1, 2014 10:52PM
Former Sandburg standout Troy Jozsa loosens up Thursday during the Slammers' first day of spring training. | Tim Tierney/For Sun-Times Media
The drizzle that limited workouts on the first day of the Joliet Slammers’ training camp didn’t dampen the spirit of Troy Jozsa.
The 2009 Sandburg graduate and former Triton College pitcher is trying to extend his baseball career after having Tommy John surgery in 2012.
“ ‘Hard work and dedication’, that’s my motto,’’ Jozsa said. “Come here and bust my tail, hopefully, the results will show and I can make the team.’’
Jozsa took his turn among 15 pitchers throwing in the bullpen Thursday at Silver Cross Field. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound right-hander then watched his competition along with some teammates.
Jozsa was among almost 200 pitchers who went to the Frontier League’s two-day tryout camp Monday and Tuesday in Florence, Ky. The pitching field was trimmed to 80 before the league draft, where every team picked two players.
“I looked at it as a good opportunity to get seen. I knew all 14 teams were going to be there,’’ Jozsa said. “I’ve been working my tail off. My motto was just to feel good, let the ball go.’’
“He showed that he was one of the better pitchers down there,’’ Slammers first-year manager Jeff Isom said. “He was 88 to 90 (mph). He showed a good breaking ball, had some success down there. Why not give him an opportunity.’’
Jozsa still lives in Orland Park, so getting selected by the Slammers was ideal.
“I feel like it’s a blessed situation,’’ he said. “Out of all the teams, I live right here. It worked out perfect, instead of getting picked up by another team and I’m playing in Pennsylvania.’’
Jozsa was named to the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association All-State team in 2009 with an 11-0 record and an ERA under 1.00 for a Sandburg team that won 30 games.
“I’ve got a lot of people who support me and follow me,’’ Jozsa said. “They could all come out to the games if I make the team ... I just had some bad luck in the past. They’re looking forward to seeing me throw and see what I can do.’’
Isom said Jozsa will get some relief outings during the Slammers’ eight-game exhibition schedule. Former Joliet catcher Tony Sanchez was the team’s other draft pick.
“We told them when we drafted them, they’re going to have every opportunity to make our team,’’ Isom said. “If they can beat some guys out, they’ll be on the team.’’
The Slammers have 31 players in training camp. The team must be down to the final roster of 24 by May 14. The season opener is May 16 against Southern Illinois at Silver Cross Field.
The Slammers are having a tryout camp Sunday morning at Silver Cross. Isom said cuts from that tryout will be made to form a team that will play an exhibition game Sunday afternoon against the Slammers.
“It gives me a chance to see ‘OK, here’s what we’ve got, here’s what this kid is. He’s better than what we have,’ ’’ Isom said. “I’ll take him at that point. It’s a unique situation. I like doing it this way.’’