Padres Prospect Q&A: Gary Gallegos

Gary Gallegos was picked by the San Diego Padres in the 21st round of the 2004 MLB Amateur Draft. The California native was sent to the Eugene Emeralds to begin his career. It was a two year process that saw him get plucked by the Padres.

Twenty first round comes along and you go to the Padres. What's the feeling about getting drafted by San Diego?

Gary Gallegos: The feeling's kind of mixed. Last year, my junior year, I had a lot of interest from the Padres. They saw me throw against Fort Monmouth. I threw eight and a third, struck out thirteen with one hit. I was throwing pretty well. Ever since then they've had a lot of interest.

Tim McLeod kept calling and asking about me, "How much do you want?" I never really specified an amount, I just said I wanted to finish school, and that's it. I never said I didn't want to get picked. I expected a call during my junior year and it didn't happen. It was frustrating that I didn't get a call. It just gave me motivation to work a little harder that summer.

And a year later the Padres come after you. Irony in its rarest form.

Gary Gallegos: I talked to them twice during the year, and then I had a lot of contact with the Marlins and the Mets and a few other teams, so it just kind of out of nowhere.

I'd kind of written them off. I figured they weren't interested me last year, so why would they be this year? Then I got the call. I thought I was going to get a call for the fifteenth or sixteenth for the Marlins, but they asked if I wanted to play next season.

Then I got a call from the Padres and they were like, "Do you wanna play?" and I was like "Yeah! Sure, I'll play!"

It was a great feeling from all of that hard work. It paid off. I was kind of hoping to go a little bit higher, but I consider being in California and in a top program kind of an honor. It's a great honor.

Answer this honestly now. Growing up in California and Riverside no less, are you a Padres fan or a Dodgers fan?

Gary Gallegos: I would have to say Padres. The Dodgers let me down too much. They always get the preseason hype and this and that, and then they just let me down.

Not exactly a growing endorsement for the Padres and sounds like you are a Dodgers fan in denial but we will let is slide. You went to Biola and you mentioned that you didn't have as much success as you wanted, as a junior. How was your senior year then?

Gary Gallegos: My junior year as pretty good year, I guess. I kind of came out of nowhere. No one was really watching me my junior year, or my freshman year.

I think my name was out there, though, because I played in Alaska for two years. We went to the NBC World Series, that was the year Jeff Francis was there throwing.

My senior year was a let-down because I had a decent year my junior year and I expected to come back here this year and dominate. Then, right from the beginning, my first game, against Cal State-Pomona, I got hit in the hand.

I guy hit a line drive right back at my hand and it looks like it's broken. I had to go for X-rays. They were negative, but it happened, and it seemed like bad luck. I got shut out like three times by different teams. I'd do real well, but they'd throw a complete game shutout. So I'm like, "Man, I'm getting these losses, but I'm pitching well, I'm pitching all right." It was definitely a test.

You come into the Padres system and your first outing for Eugene isn't so good.

Gary Gallegos: I think it was a nervous thing. After that I started working with Rajsich. I went straight to him and he was like "Gary, I'm serious about this. I want to get something to work on, this won't cut it."

We worked on a lot of different mechanics and approaches to hitters and stuff. Things got better after that, but then I guess someone called him and told him that I was drafted as a reliever, so they wanted me to do that. Which is fine. I don't mind doing it; I kind of like it better.

How so? It's got to be a change in mentality from the starting rotation.

Gary Gallegos: You have to be ready to pitch every day, but the difference is just going out there and getting three outs, or six outs, and just throwing strikes the whole time you're out there. You really don't have time to set up a strikeout, you just focus on getting the guy out as quickly as possible. You don't know as much about a batter, but I go out on what the starter did against him. I like it. Sometimes you're in a situation with the bases loaded, or men on and there's a count, and I like stuff like that.

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