It has been a well-travelled career for Indians pitcher Jarrett Grube.
The 34-year-old right-hander has logged some mileage throughout his dozen years in professional baseball that included one game of MLB action in 2014. Six of those seasons have taken him into foreign winter leagues, while parts of two more seasons were spent in Independent League action. Last season took him to play for the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican League before he found his way back into the professional circuit on a minor league deal with the Indians to play for the Columbus Clippers.
It was back in the minors that Grube found strong success on the mound and his presence in the Clippers rotation helped guide the team into the International League playoffs.
Grube re-signed with the Indians in December on a minor league contract with a non-roster invite to spring training.
He started 2015 in Mexico, working for the Tigres in the Mexican League. He made eleven starts for the club, earning a 2.98 ERA with an 8.33 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 7.5 strikeout-per-nine ratio, and a 1.14 WHIP.
He joined the Indians on his minor league deal in June and made 15 appearances for the Clippers during their regular season, including 13 starts. He put together a perfect 9-0 record with a 2.26 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, one save, and maintained a K/9 rate of 7.7.
He made three more starts in the playoffs for the Clipppers on the way to their International League championship. He did not earn a decision with a 3.52 ERA.
Grube was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the tenth round of the 2004 draft out of the University of Memphis. He remained in their farm system until June of 2009 when he was released. He landed with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League and former Boston Red Sox manager Butch Hobson and, in June of 2010, he joined the Seattle Mariners and worked in their minor league system. He was cut from the club in July of 2012 and signed two weeks later with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Ten years after being drafted, he finally made his Major League debut.
“You try to keep that glimmer of hope alive,” Grube shared with the Orange County Register upon news of his call to the show. “It’s the reason you play, to get to the majors. I can’t say I had given up, but there are definitely small thoughts like that. You try to ignore them.”
He faced three batters in two-thirds of an inning, surrendering a three-run homer to Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes in the eighth inning of the Angels’ 11-3 loss on May 31st. He was optioned back to Triple-A following the game.
Grube’s hopes may be to start his eighth season at Triple-A and his second in Columbus with the Clippers while trying to position himself as one of the first men called upon if the Indians get into a rotation problem. The Major League staff is already crowded with Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar, Trevor Bauer, Cody Anderson, and Josh Tomlin in the mix for the five spots available. But beyond the odd-man-out from the MLB rotation competition, the depth at Columbus is thin and not necessarily filled with candidates ready at this time for big league duty.
Few teams make it through a season unscathed. While the Indians rotation appears to be one of the best in the league, they will need to have the reinforcements ready down the interstate, just in case, and for Grube, he could be just such an option.
He will begin that new pursuit next month when Tribe players head to Goodyear to start spring training.
Photo: Joe Santry/Columbus Clippers historian