Feb. 19—Cole Sturgeon has been working out with other former University of Louisville baseball players who are at varying levels of pro baseball careers.
"We have a pro locker room down there," Sturgeon said from Louisville. "The weather here can be 60 one day and 20 the next, so we can be flexible to go inside or outside."
The 30-year-old Sturgeon is a former Louisville and Owensboro Catholic standout who signed recently with the Minnesota Twins organization. He's trying to find a playing spot within the system.
He was in the AA-AAA levels of the Boston Red Sox organization from 2014 through the 2019 seasons. He was drafted in the 10th round by the Red Sox after his senior year at U of L, where Sturgeon was a member of the 2013 and 2014 College World Series teams.
He played some Independent league games in 2020, and most of the 2021 season with the Lexington Legends of the Atlantic League. Sturgeon hit .321 with 37 RBIs and 10 home runs in 61 games with the Legends.
Sturgeon has been living and working in Louisville in recent offseasons. He clearly is still competitive and wants to try and keep playing.
"I wouldn't be leaving if I didn't think I could still make it," Sturgeon said. "There is no guarantee I will get out of spring training, I'll have to compete for a spot, but it would be like that anywhere. At my age, I'm just happy to have the opportunity."
Twins minor league players are supposed to report for spring training next week in Fort Myers, Florida. The Red Sox and Twins both work out in Fort Myers. Sturgeon said it will be weird with the major league players not being with the team unless the Major League Baseball lockout is settled soon.
He is still playing outfield.
"At this level, it's more about my age at this point," Sturgeon said. "I've been at the upper level of minor leagues for the last five years, so there's got to be an actual need for a team to sign someone, especially now with cutting rosters. It's harder to break back in. I'm lucky to get this chance at this stage of my career. There are a lot of unknowns (with the lockout situation), but it could present some opportunities for guys in my situation."
Sturgeon and his wife, Whitney, are expecting a baby who is due in June, and he decided if he didn't get picked up in affiliated baseball, he would likely leave playing behind.
Instead, Sturgeon will be trying to work through spring training for a spot with the Twins organization.