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Kyle McGowin confident in new role with the Washington Nationals...

Speaking from Florida, right-handed pitcher is ready to embrace the life of a reliever after being a starter in the minor leagues …

MLB: SEP 23 Phillies at Nationals Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

WASHINGTON – Kyle McGowin grew up on Long Island so it’s not a surprise that he is spending most of his off-season working out in Florida.

But it’s not just the weather that drew the Nationals’ right-hander to the Atlantic Ocean side of the Sunshine State.

McGowin, 28, is working out for the second off-season in a row at the Cressey Sports Performance facility in Jupiter, FL.

Eric Cressey, the president and co-founder, also has a facility in the Boston area.

Other Nationals who have worked out in Jupiter in the past include pitchers Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, and Austin Voth.

“A lot of players go there; I have been going there,” McGowin told Federal Baseball. “Austin usually comes in January. Max is there (this fall). I know Corbin came last year.”

McGowin, who also stayed in West Palm Beach, FL during 2019-20 offseason, plans to head home and see relatives on Long Island for Thanksgiving and Christmas before heading back to Florida to prepare for – hopefully – Spring Training.

“Honestly, it feels like any other offseason right now. I am just training and getting ready,” he said.

“It is a little different for me, going in as a reliever now. There are a couple of things I am tweaking here and there.”

His 4.91 ERA in 2020 may not seem like a breakout year – but the fact he was moved to the bullpen gives him confidence.

Armed with an improved slider, he struck out 16 batters in just 11 innings of work spread out over nine games out of the pen for manager Davey Martinez.

His most impressive outing was Sept. 12 against the Atlanta Braves – the eventual National League East champs.

In two innings, he fanned four batters while throwing 23 of 30 pitches for strikes and not allowing a hit or run.

McGowin broke in with the Nationals in 2018 and has pitched in 21 games with two starts at the Major League level, posting an ERA of 7.53 in those outings.

In the minors, he has pitched in 134 games, with 126 starts, including 11 with Triple-A Fresno and six with Double-A Harrisburg in 2019. McGowin is 39-51, 4.36 in his minor league career.

He expects to be a reliever when Spring Training begins.

“As far as I know; I have not been told anything different so I am going to assume I will stay in that role.

“If they wanted a different role they would relay that to me now. I am comfortable where I am at and [with] what I am doing,” McGowin said.

He was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the fifth round in 2013 out of Savannah State.

The New York native was traded after the 2016 season, along with pitcher Austin Adams, to Washington for infielder Danny Espinosa, who last played with Triple-A Syracuse in the New York Mets’ system in 2019.

When he joined the Nationals, McGowin said one of the first instructors he met was Paul Menhart.

A resident of the Savannah area, Menhart was a minor league instructor before becoming the pitching coach for the Nationals early in the 2019 season.

Menhart was replaced after the 2020 season by Jim Hickey, the former pitching coach for Houston, Tampa Bay, and the Chicago Cubs.

“I loved Paul; I had a good bond with Paul. I wish Paul the best,” McGowin said.

McGowin has yet to hear from Hickey. But the right-hander has confidence heading towards Spring Training after the 2020 season.

“I was pretty happy with it overall,” McGowin explained.

“I didn’t end up as strong as I wanted, but I was still learning a new role so I am happy with the first year of me taking over that role as a reliever full-time I was pretty happy with the results. I learned some things I need to work on and try to implement those for the next full season.”