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Local product Tuffy Gosewisch finally gets his big shot with Diamondbacks

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SCOTTSDALE – Tuffy Gosewisch is a familiar name for Arizona baseball fans. Following an All-State career at Horizon High School, the catcher played for Arizona State and now, almost 10 years after he was drafted, Gosewisch is positioned to get his first career starting spot for the hometown Arizona Diamondbacks.

“He’s been working his whole life for it,” said Brad Ziegler, veteran relief pitcher. “He’s ready for it.”

Gosewisch was drafted in 2005 and bounced his way through minor league teams until he received his first big league call-up with the D-Backs in 2013. Last season, he saw 132 plate appearances in 41 games as a backup catcher. After the departure of long-time starting catcher Miguel Montero in the offseason, the spot seems to be Gosewisch’s to lose heading into the spring.

Newly-hired D-Backs manager Chip Hale holds Gosewisch in high regard.

“He’s got a chance to be one of our impact guys on the big league team,” Hale said. “He handles his pitchers professionally, he knows how to follow a game plan and he has their trust.”

The long-time minor league catcher maintains that trust with a cool and collected demeanor.

“Being able to help the pitchers, that’s my number one priority,” Gosewisch said. “What I can do behind the plate is my best asset.”

This is the first time in nearly a decade a new face will get the starting nod at catcher. However, Arizona pitchers aren’t concerned about the transition. Starting pitcher Trevor Cahill, entering his fourth year with the D-Backs, welcomes the change.

“It’s good to have somebody that’s fresh,” Cahill said. “He might have some new ideas. I’ve always liked him and he seems like he does a good job of working with you when he was in a backup role.”

Ziegler is also confident the catcher’s age and experience will translate to big league success.

“He’s going to get rattled a lot less,” Ziegler said. “He’s gonna be able to take the younger pitchers that we have and say, ‘Hey, calm down, things are going crazy but just limit the damage and let’s get back out there.’”

Gosewisch’s time with the team last season was a big part of earning the trust of the pitching staff.

“There’s not a pitcher here I don’t feel comfortable with,” he said. “Since my number one job is handling the pitching staff, you’ve gotta know each pitcher inside and out and really understand what their strengths and weaknesses are.”

The spring goes beyond the position battle for the veteran catcher, though. It’s also another homecoming. He’ll play in front of friends and family from his hometown of Scottsdale and the local ASU fan base.

“It’s the best thing of all time,” Gosewisch said. “I have a great appreciation for being able to be here for the whole thing.”