(Citynet Statewide Sportsline Interview)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When the Major League Baseball season eventually gets underway, former University High School and WVU infielder Jedd Gyorko will begin his eighth season in the big leagues.
“It is wild. Time seems to fly by. They don’t lie when you hear people talk about how fast time goes. Until you are actually doing it and living it, you don’t realize how fast it goes.”
In January, Gyorko signed the first free agent contract in his career, catching on with the Milwaukee Brewers. He appeared in seven spring training games, batting .286 in 14 at bats. When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all of the major professional sports, Gyorko made the cross country drive back home from Arizona.
“It happened so fast. Things were literally changing by the hour. One hour we were ready to go out and have a normal practice and the next hour they were telling us wait-and-see. The next hour I am in the middle of the country driving home.”
During the unexpected break, Gyorko has returned to his hometown of Morgantown, giving him more time to spend with his family and three young children.
“It is good to get to spend some time with them. I don’t think they think too highly of my kindergarten teaching skills.
“We are all anxious and ready to play baseball but we all understand what is at stake.”
Gyorko graduated from University High School in 2007 after a decorated prep career with the Hawks. He excelled at multiple infield spots at WVU from 2008-2010, and won the Brooks Wallace Award in 2010 as the nation’s top collegiate shortstop. As a junior, Gyorko batted .381 with a school-record 19 home runs and 57 RBIs. Those numbers made him a second-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres.
Gyorko broke through to the big leagues in 2013 and has played in 804 career games with the Padres, Cardinals and Dodgers. He is now under contract with the Brewers for 2020 with a club option for 2021.
“It is a great group of guys. It is a team that is very hungry to go out and prove people wrong again. That’s what they have done the last few years. It is a pretty new team so there are a bunch of guys like myself and we were starting to jell. That’s something that takes time but it was a lot of fun to hang out with those guys and I am looking forward to getting back with them.
“We were just about at the point of spring training where you kind of figure out how you are going to get used and how things are going to get set up and what your role is going to be. So we didn’t get into it a whole lot. That is kind of up in the air. Obviously it is going to come down to being healthy and going out and playing well.”
Gyorko’s versatility made him an attractive signee for the Brewers. He has played at second base in 390 games, third base in 278, sixty games at shortstop and 35 times at first base. Gyorko has played every position on the diamond with the exception of catcher, center field and right field.
“I struck out the only batter I faced last year. I don’t think you can get much better than that. I told my agent to take that to a few teams and I actually think that may have cost me a couple thousand dollars.”
Gyorko will turn 31 years old in September and has earned over thirty million dollars in his professional career.
“The way the game is now, not too many guys nowadays are walking out of the game whenever they feel like it. So I am going to keep playing this game until it tells me I can’t play anymore.”