SPORTS

Former Manhattan baseball star movin’ on up in Padres chain

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A few things you need to know about Tom Cosgrove.

He likes to spend his downtime in his pool. He’s a big fan of $3 Taco Night at the ballpark. And he landed the Opening Day starting pitcher assignment a couple of weeks ago for his new team, the Lake Elsinore Storm.

Life is decidedly better for the former Manhattan College pitching star these days. Hanging poolside and enjoying the good life in Southern California while pursuing his baseball dream is a far cry from dorm living, cafeteria meal plans, and playing college baseball in the cold and damp of the Northeast.

And Cosgrove is enjoying it to the hilt.

“I really like it here,” said Cosgrove, who was picked by the San Diego Padres in the 12th round of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft. “It’s really nice here, and I’m more comfortable.”

Comfortable because spring training this year was not his first professional baseball rodeo.

That came last year. This time around, he was more familiar with his surroundings and knew his coaches and teammates and what to expect on a daily basis.

“It was nice to kind of know what I was heading into unlike last year when I just showed up and didn’t really know what was going on,” Cosgrove said. “But this was a good spring training, and it was good to see everyone again after the off-season.”

The highlight of Cosgrove’s spring came when he came face-to-face with Padres Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman and picked his brain for a few minutes.

“He was there a lot, and I had a couple of meetings with Trevor, and he gave us some good information,” Cosgrove said. “It was really nice to be exposed to that kind of talent.”

After a strong first professional season with the Padres’ A-ball team — the Fort Wayne Tin Caps — last season, Cosgrove earned a promotion to High-A Lake Elsinore of the California League this season.

“It’s nice to keep moving up every season and to get an opportunity to pitch at a higher level,” Cosgrove said. “I also pitched Opening Day, which was very nice. I got a ‘W,’ which is always good. And it was just exciting to get that opportunity.”

The Padres’ organization have great communication with its players, Cosgrove said, so he is constantly receiving feedback about where he is, what he needs to work on, and where things could take him in the future.

“They have a lot of guys who are hands-on, so you always know where you stand,” he said. “Everyone tells you straight-up what’s going on, so I got really lucky with this great organization. We know what we have to do to move up. There are no secrets, there’s no guessing. If you pitch well, you’re going to go up.”

Spring training also provided Cosgrove a couple of opportunities to catch up with former Manhattan teammate Fabian Peña, who is out west with the Giants organization.

“I saw Fabian a couple of times,” Cosgrove said. “We wound up meeting each other twice and going out, so that was pretty cool.”

And who picked up the check?

“We’re splitting things right now,” Cosgrove said, laughing.

Cosgrove is 1-3 on the season with 17 strikeouts in 18 innings, and he says competing with his teammates is what helps keep everyone sharp.

“Obviously there is a lot of competition with the Padres having the minor league system that they have,” Cosgrove said. “But I look at it as a good thing. I get to learn from a lot of my teammates and we have a lot of good pitchers in the organization, so it’s nice to pick people’s brains and work with people and challenge each other.”

In the meantime, Cosgrove will continue to work on his craft, chase his baseball dream, and  figure out a way to capitalize on $3 Taco Night.

“Taco nights are good,” Cosgrove said.

“They haven’t made their way into the dugout yet but those guys in the bullpen, they’re always scheming for hot dogs and tacos with the fans, giving away balls for tacos. I have to get in on that.”

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