Saturday, December 13, 2008

Gross on new Rays player, Tommy Tuberville

Rays outfielder Gabe Gross said he welcomed the extra challenge the team gave him this week.

The Rays added outfielder Matt Joyce from the Tigers. Joyce, Gross and Fernando Perez are the current contenders to play right field next season for Tampa Bay. The Rays also may sign a free agent outfielder.

"Every year in the big leagues, there are so many good players out there, they're not many jobs just handed to you," Gross said. "I have to go into spring training and do the best I can to win a position and a spot on the team."

Gross was in town today, along with Braves pitcher Tim Hudson and Astros pitcher Wesley Wright, for the grand opening of The Strike Zone, a baseball/softball academy on Eastern Boulevard. Rob Macrory owns the facility and is a former Auburn player, just like Gross and Hudson. Wright lives in Grady and graduated from Goshen High.

Gross is also a former Auburn football quarterback. Gross, who quit football halfway through Tommy Tuberville's first season in 1999 to focus on baseball, said he "was a little surprised" at Tuberville's recent departure.

"He did a lot of good at Auburn," Gross said. "He got into a situation where he obviously had a down year and couldn't get the team up to speed. In the current climate of college football, sometimes that is enough."

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