Now Commenting On:

{"content":["spring_training" ] }

Gagne getting into groove at own pace

Gagne getting into groove at own pace

PHOENIX -- Eric Gagne knows his role. He finds comfort in that.

"It's always easier on you when you know you have a place on the team," Gagne said. "That's why it's harder when you're a young guy. You're really trying to work and impress, and you've got to come into Spring Training ready to go, 100 percent."

He doesn't have to worry about such things, Brewers manager Ned Yost said.

Gagne, who split the 2007 season between the Rangers and the Red Sox, can work into his groove at a pace of his own. Nobody's looking at his outings here and dissecting them under a microscope. His job is to close ballgames for the Brewers -- but ballgames that matter, not Cactus League games.

He's been using those games to prep himself for the real thing -- one inning at a time.

"It's getting there," Gagne said. "I'm feeling pretty good, you know. I'm working on my fastball right now."

His objective as he prepares for Opening Day is simple: keep throwing his hard stuff and mixing in a changeup once in a while.

Then he amended it just a tad.

"As long as I don't get hurt," he said, smiling, "that's my objective."

Gagne, 32, came into camp feeling good, something he's not experienced in the past three seasons. He's been battling a string of injuries, and the injuries have been winning.

The once-dominant closer has had to rebuild the fear factor that had been as much a part of his pitching repertoire as anything else. Gagne's gone from 52 saves in 2002 to 16 last season.

With the Brewers, Gagne will have a chance to do a lot better than 16 saves this season, if he's anything close to the Gagne of yesteryear. He might be, too. He still has work ahead of him, though.

"Right now, I'm working on my fastball, just the location, and really getting my body under control," he said.

Justice B. Hill is a senior reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["spring_training" ] }
{"content":["spring_training" ] }
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español