Note to Miami Hurricanes baseball fans: Remember the name Carlos Gutierrez now.
Gutierrez is already the ace of the staff in his sophomore year, and he only started pitching in his junior year of high school, totaling only two innings.
“It was a great feeling to be out there opening day,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez said he is living his dream by playing for Miami.
“I always wanted to come to UM,” Gutierrez said. “I would always come down to this park as a kid and cheer the team on.”
Gutierrez played baseball throughout his life, but it was not until his junior year at Christopher Columbus High School, the same school that has produced standout outfielder Jon Jay and pitcher Danny Gil, when he made the switch to pitcher. That was the same year his team won the state championship while he sat on the bench.
Gutierrez is not alone; his little brother, David, is a freshman pitcher on the team.
“It’s a bigger deal at home. My parents are ecstatic that both of us got into Miami,” Gutierrez said.
Gutierrez continues to try to improve. He works hard with pitching coach J.D. Arteaga and takes advice anywhere he can find. One source of wisdom came last season from Cesar Carrillo, the San Diego Padres’ first round pick.
“Cesar made me want to work hard over the summer,” Gutierrez said. “I had a couple conversations with him about keeping my composure and being myself.”
Gutierrez already won his first start, not allowing a run in five innings of work against Florida International University. Head Coach Jim Morris understands the long process of bringing a pitcher along. He spoke about Gutierrez and Manny Miguelez’s first starts last weekend.
“They passed the test but not the exam,” Morris said.
Gutierrez did not get a chance to show his stuff last year in limited action, but all eyes are on him this year.
“Basically, I wanted to come out and show people I could be a help to his team,” Gutierrez said.
Being the ace of the staff at Miami in your sophomore year is a great honor, but Morris said he understands that Gutierrez is still growing as a pitcher.
“I don’t expect any one to do what Cesar did,” Morris said. “I couldn’t put that on anyone. I just hope he is consistent and gives us a chance to win.”
Gutierrez said he has not lost the innocence of the game.
“I am just trying to have fun.”
Denis Brown can be contacted at email@example.com.