When right-hander Jeff Bruksch was asked to report to Potomac from spring training at the beginning of this season, it would mark the first time in his baseball life that he would begin any season outside of his native California.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bruksch played collegiate baseball at Stanford prior to being selected by the Oakland Athletics in the fifth round of the 2001 amateur draft. He spent his first two seasons at two of Oakland's Class A affiliates, Visalia and Modesto, both in California, before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds' organization at the end of last July and being assigned to Potomac.
"I had to pitch in probably the coldest weather I ever had to pitch in this year and it's a little more humid than out in California," the 24-year-old said about adjusting from the moderate temperatures in California.
Bruksch is not altogether unfamiliar playing in diverse conditions. Following his college season in 1999, Bruksch played for the Anchorage Bucs in the Alaska Baseball League and in 2000 he was a member of the Hyannis Mets in the Cape Cod League.
Bruksch is also making the transition to the eight-man rotation that has been installed by Cincinnati for their minor league system that tries to save their pitchers' arms by not allowing them to throw much more than 75 pitches in any particular outing.
Bruksch has been forced to adapt to pitching on four days' rest, as opposed to the customary five he had been afforded in his first two years of professional baseball' and he has had to come out of the bullpen, something he had not done since college.
In 13 games, Bruksch has started five and come in relief eight times' compiling a 1-1 record and a 4.02 ERA. He has also earned the first save of his professional career
"Jeff handles it [adjusting to the pitching rotation] just fine because he has such a bounce-back arm," said Cannons pitching coach Ed Hodge. "He gets loose good and quick and he's very diligent with his programs."