The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

April 3, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN: Hard work pays off for Gyorko

MORGANTOWN — If you are a baseball fan, you have to be proud of Jedd Gyorko.

The Morgantown native actually realized a dream come true Monday afternoon when he started at second base for the San Diego Padres against the New York Mets in Flushing, N.Y. He doubled inside third base in the sixth inning.

It was his Major League debut at the age of 24. This marked his rise to baseball’s highest level.

Just think of all the hard work Gyorko put into the game he loves so dearly. It dates back to when he played in Little League as a kid. Then it was on to American Legion ball, University High School, West Virginia University and now professional baseball.

Gyorko, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Randall Gyorko, was a second-round selection by San Diego in the Major League Baseball Draft.

He played in the Padres’ farm system at different levels, and now has worked his way up and finally earned a place on the Padres’ 25-man roster.

He is extremely well-experienced playing both second and third base and he is well-versed as a hitter with power.

Gyorko will be hitting in the No. 5 spot in the batting order.

There had been encouraging reports earlier about him from Peoria, Ariz., where the Padres were in spring training camp.

In his first at-bat there this spring, Gyorko blasted a grand slam home run. And in that game, he did not make a single error in the field.

That combination obviously caught the attention of the San Diego club’s manager and coaches.

More than 60 family members and friends planned to be in New York for Monday’s season opener.

If you’re wondering, Jedd will be wearing No. 9 on his jersey.

Greg Van Zant, who spent 27 years in the WVU baseball program as both a player and a coach, had groomed Gyorko well. He was replaced as head coach after the 2012 season. He is proud that he’d helped develop his standout protégé.

Not only Van Zant but all Mountaineer fans should be very proud of Jedd Gyorko for gaining Major League status.

He’s not only a great infielder and hitter but also a great young man.

I had the opportunity to cover him four years as an outstanding Mountaineer, and I couldn’t be happier that he has been so successful.

Best wishes go out to him and his fine family as he seeks even more fame in baseball.

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