Padres Prospect Interview: Steve Garrison

Hitting his spots and working low in the zone has been the staple of Steve Garrison's game since arriving into the San Diego Padres system. With four pitches to pull from – he never really knows if a pitch will abandon him until he is warming up before the game. It doesn't dissuade the southpaw from pitching his game.

Did you make any changes this off-season coming into the year in the preparation since this was your first time going through a full year in the San Diego chain and there might have been a need to impress early on.

Steve Garrison: I was a little nervous early on, not knowing the organization that well. I knew the team but that was about it.

This off-season, I tried to get in shape and work out so I wouldn't get tired at the end of the season like I did last year. I just want to finish strong.

You have an inordinate amount of success, as a lefty, versus right-handed hitters. Is there something that you are doing to keep them off-balance?

Steve Garrison: I know I am not overpowering anyone so I try and make them guess what I was going to throw. I throw them a lot of off-speed and work backwards a lot. If I let the ball up, they are going to hit it pretty hard. So, I try and keep the ball down and let my defense do the work. My defense has been great so it works out.

Using the same philosophy, how are you attacking left-handed hitters differently and there is some approach you have to change?

Steve Garrison: With lefties, I know lefties don't get to face many lefties. I have more confidence coming in to lefties and I know if I pitch to my strength, that I will get them out. Sometimes it worked out; sometimes it didn't.

I kind of keep the same mentality. I want to always pitch to my strengths and work on what I know I can do by staying within myself and not trying to overdo anything.

You have four pitches. How often do you go into a game without one of those pitches working for you?

Steve Garrison: A whole bunch. I try and have as many as I can because if I have three pitches and one isn't working I am in trouble. That happens a lot.

Does it happen to one pitch more than any other?

Steve Garrison: It varies from day-to-day. One day I will wake up and I won't have my changeup. One day my slider is gone. Then my curveball. Sometimes my fastball goes and I have to throw a lot more breaking balls. It is difficult.

You wake up and kind of guess. It is one of the reasons I get nervous before a game. You don't know. In a perfect world, every pitch is going to be ready and you are going to hit your spots. More often than not, that won't be the case.

You seem to set the tone early by throwing strikes and it has paid off with fewer runs allowed over the first two frames. What is the pre-game routine like for you?

Steve Garrison: I try and do the same thing and get into a routine to get prepared to throw. I stretch, run, throw – the same thing every time to get mentally prepared. It gets me focused and in the zone. If I do different things every time at different times, I am not going to be able to zone in. I feel like if I am zoned in, I have a pretty good chance to command the zone.

How important is it to work down in the zone?

Steve Garrison: Like I said before, I can't overpower anyone and be able to leave the ball over the middle of the plate and expect them to swing right through it. These hitters love 86-88 MPH fastballs down the middle so I know I can't do that. I have to be able to pitch to my strengths and consistently pitch low in the zone and work to all four corners of the plate with all of my pitches. Consistent and hit your spots.

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