Revs pitcher Dave Gassner (pictured above during spring training) announced his retirement today. He has left the team to return home to Wisconsin. The Purdue graduate and former Minnesota Twins pitcher had an up-and-down career with York. One of the few bright spots (3.06 ERA) on a club that struggled in the first half last season, Gassner earned a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox.
But this year, a muscle strain near his neck caused him to be ineffective in his final starts of the season. He went 4-12 with a 5.59 ERA. He struck out 64 and walked 39. He allowed at least four runs in five of his final six appearances. Demoted to the bullpen under new manager Andy Etchebarren, Gassner made one relief appearance before he left the club.
It will be interesting to see what career path Gassner pursues. A Purdue graduate, he could find work outside of baseball, in a job that would allow him to stay close to his family — including two young daughters. Although soft spoken, he offered insight into the game. But coaching jobs will no doubt be an option for him. After signing with the Red Sox last season, a Division I college offered him a job as their pitching coach.
A class act, Gassner’s change in fortune this year illustrates just how difficult it can be for a player to regain the attention of a major league organization. One of the best in the league last year, Gassner struggled this year despite playing well at times in the Red Sox organization. He went 8-5 in Double-A in 2008.
He looked to be York’s staff ace in the preseason, but a lack of run support and an injury derailed what could have been another solid season for the left-hander.
He could probably return to the league next season, and have some success, but from talking to him this season it’s more likely he will choose a career that will allow him to stay close to his family.