Interview: Justin Germano

Diagnosed with a mild elbow sprain after an MRI revealed no structural damage after his final start in 2004, Justin Germano spent the offseason getting healthy for a run at the number five spot in the San Diego Padres rotation.<br> The offseason was dedicated to rehab. When he finally resumed throwing in November, Germano felt a twinge and it was off to rehab again.<br> Denis Savage sits down for a discussion of

"The first couple of weeks, right after the season, I started to rehab it and it started to feel a little better and they cleared me," Germano explained. "Once I started throwing again, I felt a little pain and rehabbed again pretty much through January and February. I ended up getting an MRI just to make sure everything was alright and we weren't missing anything and it came back negative."

"Probably about two weeks before spring, my arm felt 100 percent better and I threw in the bullpen pain free, throwing curveballs and changeups."

And when he was finally ready to go, the intent was to compete for the number five spot in the rotation. He admits he was anxious that first time on the mound but pitching is something he has done all his life. While he knew Darrel May had been acquired to fill that role, he was determined to give it his best in spring. Deep down in his mind, however, he knew the decision "may" have already been made. When the call came to send him down, prior to the acquisition of Tim Redding, Germano felt the twang of disappointment.

"Disappointment definitely came into the picture," Germano admitted. ":I was kind of expecting it with May, since we got May and (Redding) and I figured sooner or later it would happen but just getting sent down is a little disappointing."

After the move was made and his ticket to Portland was punched, general manager Kevin Towers mentioned Germano as one of the top candidates to be promoted if the Padres should suffer an injury to one of their starters.

"It helps," Germano said of the praise from Towers. "It is always nice to know that they have faith in me; that they haven't given up on me and still think of me as the main guy if something goes wrong. I felt that way too. It is just the reassurance of hearing it from them."

The spring was dedicated to his mental approach to the game. He admits that in his first start, in unforgiving Colorado no less, he was in a bit of awe. It was his first professional start in the Majors at 21 years old.

He felt he lost some of the magic that had taken him through the minors and forgot to just be himself on the mound, letting the aura of pitching in the Majors take away from what he had accomplished already.

"The biggest thing I wanted to work on was the mental side of the game," Germano said. "I wanted to go out there and just pitch and not worry about too much. Of all the little things, I think that was part of my problem last year when I got called up. I started thinking too much instead of going out there and pitching."

"Kind of being in awe of being there who I was facing."

He knows better after his second Big League spring.

While he may begin the year with the Beavers, he doesn't expect to be there long.

"Obviously, I am going to Triple-A and I am going to try and stay there as little time as possible."

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