Plum grad McGough gets boost from fall league performance

Michael Love
| Sunday, March 24, 2013, 12:41 a.m.

From September to November, Scott McGough took advantage of the opportunity to play in Major League Baseball's Arizona Fall League for top minor league prospects.

The 2008 Plum High School graduate said the experience gave him a boost going into offseason training as well as spring training this month.

“In the fall league, you're facing a lot of the guys who are future big leaguers,” McGough said. “Doing well there is a big confidence booster. The organization thinks you deserve to be in the fall league. It is always an honor to be a part of the fall league, and doing well was a big boost for me.

“It gave me a little more push and drive into the offseason. I just want to pick up where my fall league season left off.”

He finished the fall league with a 1.13 earned-run average over 16 innings. It was the second-best ERA in the AFL for the 2012 season.

McGough began preparation for the 2013 season earlier this month and is working in the Miami Marlins' minor league camp.

A midseason trade that involved All-Star infielder Hanley Ramirez sent McGough from the Dodgers organization to the Marlins last summer. He finished the 2012 campaign on the pitching staff of the Marlins' High A club in Jupiter, Fla.

Minor league spring camps are separate from their major league counterparts. McGough works out in the morning and then waits to see if the Marlins call up any players for their Grapefruit League games.

He didn't get in any games through the first week in Florida.

“As the rosters dwindle down toward the end of spring training, they ask more and more minor league players to come over and get in some innings,” McGough said.

McGough returned to his collegiate alma mater, the University of Oregon, the second week of November to begin offseason training with some of his former Oregon teammates and current Ducks players and coaches.

“I was able to throw bullpen sessions and work in game situations,” McGough said. “It is a really great place to work out, stay in shape and get ready for spring training. We're blessed that the players there now don't mind us coming back.”

McGough isn't sure if he will return to the Jupiter Hammerheads to start the season or get called up to the Class AA Jacksonville Suns.

“I don't look too far ahead,” McGough said. “I just try to come in every day and get my work in. I am just having fun playing the game of baseball. Wherever management sees fit to send me I will be happy with it. Wherever I am placed, I just want to work hard and move up as fast as I can.”

The Marlins made headlines in the offseason by trading away several of their top major league players. The payroll was reduced drastically to one of the smallest in the league this season.

“At the very first day of spring training for us, our farm system director came out and said it is a rebuilding year,” McGough said. “He hated to use that term, but there will be a lot of opportunities, and that is good for a minor league player to hear. It's just a great opportunity for me to move up, and I am not complaining.”

The Marlins open their season April 1 at Washington. Each minor league team begins its season a couple of days later.

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