LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- When Spring Training began, Gus Schlosser was not considered one of the favorites in the competition for a spot in the bullpen. But with his first two Grapefruit League appearances, the 6-foot-4 right-hander has established himself as a legitimate candidate.
"We'll see how the spring develops, but so far he's been the talk of the coaching staff," manager Fredi Gonzalez said after Schlosser tossed two scoreless innings in Monday's loss to the Mets.
If Freddy Garcia does not begin the season in the rotation, Schlosser, 25, could gain one of what appears to be two available spots in the bullpen. He has surrendered one hit and one walk while not allowing a run in the three innings he has completed thus far.
"Whether you end up [in the Majors] or not really doesn't matter," Schlosser said. "Just being able to show them what you're capable of is pretty big. It's nice to know that if they need me, whenever that is, they're confident in what I can do."
With Ryan Buchter not making an impact this spring, the Braves are expected to search the trade market for a left-handed specialist. But at the same time, they will continue to evaluate all of their relief candidates, including Schlosser and Luis Vasquez, who could be cleared to begin pitching in games next week after spending the early portion of camp recovering from a strained lat.
Gene Garber's presence in camp this week has given Schlosser a chance to talk with a former reliever who used a sidearm delivery much like the one he has refined throughout his professional career.
While producing a 2.39 ERA in 25 starts with Double-A Mississippi last season, Schlosser limited right-handed hitters to a .199 batting average and .256 on-base percentage. Left-handed hitters proved more successful against him, batting .281 with a .361 on-base percentage.