Baseball coach John Savage ready to start cooking

January, 22, 2010
1/22/10
5:58
PM PT
At first, UCLA baseball coach John Savage was set on preparing a beef and rice dish.

With 11 other local coaches in attendance for Easton's California College Baseball media day, he wanted to go the safe route. Savage eventually added broccoli to mimic a fast-food meal his children had recently eaten. The move didn’t necessarily pay off, as Savage's entree failed to earn him the title of top chef Friday morning at the second annual Coaches Cook-off hosted by ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney.

Yet, despite an inability to woo the judges with his cooking, Savage hopes he has drawn up the winning recipe for a strong 2010 season.

“The offseason has gone as well as it can go,” Savage said. “We stayed healthy and the players came back with a hungry attitude.”

Savage enters his sixth season as coach following a rough campaign last spring. The Bruins finished the season 27-29 and failed to make the postseason for the first time in four years. UCLA earned third place in the Pacific 10 Conference with a 15-12 conference record but never recovered from an early 10-game losing streak.

“Falling short last season, I think we learned a lot of lessons,” Savage said. “The expectations were a little high, but I think we’re well-grounded now. We know what we need to do. Guys are going about it the right way.”

UCLA, ranked No. 20 in Collegiate Baseball’s preseason poll, opens on Feb. 19 against Southern at Jackie Robinson Stadium as part of Major League Baseball’s Urban Invitational.

Hard-throwing right-hander Gerrit Cole, a sophomore who spurned the New York Yankees after they drafted him in the first round in 2008, is expected to take the mound on opening night.

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