MadFriars' Spring Training:  Josh Geer

Peoria, AZ -  Josh Geer, 31, was drafted in the third round of the 2005 draft by San Diego, the same that saw the Padres select Chase Headley, Nick Hundley and Will Venable.

For awhile the lanky right-hander from Rice University seemed destined to be in the Padres' starting rotation after a very good 2007 campaign where he was the Texas League Pitcher of the Year with a 16-6 record as the AA San Antonio Missions that won the league championship.

In 2009 he spent most of the year with the big club where he posted a disappointing 1-7 record with a 5.96 ERA. Geer was back in the minors in 2010 and in 2011 he was forced to miss most of the season after two starts with AAA Tucson Padres to remove lymph nodes from his neck after he was diagnosed with Stage III melanoma, a type of skin cancer.

After another season as a starter in Tucson and San Antonio he embarked on a new role as the long man out of the bullpen with the Missions in 2013 which culminated in him pitching five shutout innings in the deciding game of the Texas League Championship for his second title with the club.

To start the season the Texas native will once again begin the year in San Antonio but could easily move up to the big leagues in a variety of roles.

You had a good year last year and now you have been moving to more of a relief role as opposed to a starter. How has that changed how you prepare for games?

Josh Geer: It changes a lot. I never really came out of the pen as much until last year. I've started my whole career and its a completely different mindset in getting ready. Having to get ready you might have five or fifteen pitches you just don't know. You have to be ready everyday and you can't plan your schedule as much compared to starting.

I really did like the mindset and last year I got to do some of both. It was a lot of fun because I got the opportunity to show what I could do.

It must have been very difficult. You go for a few weeks of pitching every other day then you have to start.

Josh Geer: It was at first. I was getting a little soreness early on but then I started to get used to it.

I had to get adjusted to it early on.

Does middle relief fit your style? I've seen you when you are really good and with you its about pounding the strike zone with sinkers. If someone sees five pitches from you, four of them are going to be strikes.

Josh Geer: My command is usually always going to be there. Coming in for the middle relief role I feel like managers have confidence in me that I am not going to walk anyone. I really like that role because you have to be amped up and ready to go now. There really isn't a lot of room for error.

Is it more of an advantage to you that you only have to go through the lineup one time?

Josh Geer: It is a little different. You have to see the match-up so it kind of is to your advantage somewhat but they also have been swinging the bat too.

You are one of the few guys out here that doesn't make me feel old. You are kind of coming up your second time in this role after your problems with skin cancer in 2011. I know you really like the game but you also have quite a few options outside of the game.

How much are you still enjoying the process?

Josh Geer: (laughs) I still have fun with it and that is the main thing. It is a job and you have to compete which is something that I love to do and have done my whole life. Now its another battle back to the big leagues. I'm feeling good still and have the same stuff that I always did.

Hopefully I will get another shot.

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