Vol. LXI, No. 33
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
ON THE MOVE: Steve Garrison displays his form in a practice during his stellar career with the Hun School baseball team. Garrison, who was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 10th round of the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft, was traded by the Brewers to the San Diego Padres organization last month. He is currently with the Lake Elsinore Storm of the Class-A California League where he was 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA through games of August 10.
At first, Steve Garrison thought it was a practical joke designed to liven up the clubhouse for a baseball team entering the dog days of summer.
After finishing a pre-game workout for the Class-A Brevard County Manatees of the Milwaukee Brewers organization in late July, Garrison, a former star pitcher for the Hun School, got summoned into the office of manager John Tamargo and was told to close the door behind him.
With Garrison off to an 8-4 start with a 3.44 ERA, the talented lefty didn't think he was in line for being chewed out or in need of a heart-to-heart chat with his skipper.
"He said 'I have good news for you and bad news for me,' " said Garrison, recalling his meeting with Tamargo.
"He told me I had been traded to the San Diego Padres organization. I started laughing and he said it's no joke."
Garrison was traded along with two other minor leaguer pitchers in the Brewers organization to San Diego in exchange for the Padres' star set-up man Scott Linebrink. It turned out that Garrison was a key piece of the puzzle as San Diego reportedly refused to do the deal unless the young lefty was included.
Once the reality of the trade set in, Garrison was in no laughing mood. "My heart dropped, I had a whole bunch of emotions," recalled Garrison, a 2005 graduate of the Hun School who went 25-4 in his high school career and led the Raiders to the state Prep A title in 2002. "I had some great friends on the Brevard County team. It was really tough."
Garrison, though, had no time to feel sorry for himself as the padres had lined up a flight early the next morning to get him across the country to his new team, the Lake Elsinore Storm of the Class-A California League.
"I was occupied with packing all night, I had a flight at 7:30 a.m.," recalled Garrison. " I didn't sleep all night. I did go to the game that night to say goodbye to my teammates; that was tough. The Padres have spring training in Arizona like the Brewers so I should be able to see them."
After making his exit from Florida, Garrison had quite a journey across the country.
"I spent the entire day traveling; I had some layovers," added Garrison. "I got to Bakersfield about 12:30 western time. I was upset, nervous and a little scared to join a new team."
Garrison had plenty of butterflies in his stomach as he made his debut for the Storm on July 29 against San Jose.
"I was really very nervous," acknowledged Garrison, who went seven innings and gave up two earned runs in suffering a hard-luck loss.
"I was anxious to pitch well and show the team that I could help them. I was lucky to have some very good defense behind me."
While the trade may have come as a shock to Garrison, he feels lucky to be joining the Padres, an organization known for its solid pitching.
"It was a good feeling to know that San Diego wouldn't make the deal without me," said Garrison, who was 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA through games of August 10.
"I found out that one of their scouts was at my last few games with Brevard County. There are a lot of pluses coming to the San Diego organization. Since San Diego went out of its way to get me, I'm hoping I can move up faster here. I still have to perform."
Garrison feels he has raised his level of performance over the last few years.
"I finally felt confident, I was doing much better," maintained Garrison.
"I just need to be consistent with everything. I don't have anything overpowering so I need to get ahead of the hitters. My velocity is around 87-88 m.p.h and I have a curve, change-up, and slider."
If nothing else, Garrison has gotten a valuable lesson in the business side of pro baseball through the trade.
"It opened my eyes; it was unbelievable," said Garrison. "I thought the Brewers liked me. A couple of the front office guys have called me since the trade to tell me to not take it personally and that they had nothing against me."
Now, Garrison is doing his best to make the Padres like him. "I'm going to put my heart and soul into this," said Garrison. "I'm just trying to mature."
The way that Garrison has dealt with his move west demonstrates a maturity that should serve him well as he works his way up the baseball ladder.
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