Padres Prospect Interview: Steve Garrison

SAN ANTONIO, TX: Early in the year, base runners were stealing third base off Steve Garrison. At 21 in Double-A, curtailing the running game has been just one of the lessons the southpaw is learning this year.

One of the things that has been much more important to the organization in the last year is holding runners closer to first base and quickening the pace to home plate. Early in the year, a couple of guys were stealing third base of you. What changed?

Steve Garrison: Bill Masse and Steve Webber, our pitching coach, really helped me. A few things happened in spring training to work on my delivery and it took away my slide step. Also, I was focusing more on the hitters than the runners and trying to get all of that situated.

They sat me down and said, ‘They are stealing way too much on you.' I, obviously, agreed with that. Masse took me out and gave me some pointers on things he has learned and Webby also gave me pointers. Both of them really helped me put it back in my head how important it is to take care of the runners.

Does that also affect you in a different way when you are attacking hitters with runners on base where you are rushing or getting into bad habits mechanically?

Steve Garrison: You have to find a happy medium. It is a constant battle. It is hard because you can get so worried about the runner that you forget about the hitter. Like I said, they helped me do both at the same time. Put your head in a certain spot, do things with your legs to confuse them – little things that won't affect my delivery but will make all the difference in the world to the base runner. It has been a great help. Each bullpen I work on it and try and get better at it.

Your first, and hopefully last, season in Double-A. How do you believe the season has gone for you?

Steve Garrison: It has definitely had its ups and downs. I am trying to keep an even keel and keep my head on straight. I am trying to take the good and the bad – it is a learning experience. The great starts – I want to build upon. The bad ones – I want to bounce back. It is important to me to be able to do that. It is more of a learning process – keep trying to learn hitters, refine my mechanics, keep runners from stealing on you. Keep learning, maturing, getting better.

You had that seven-inning no-hitter going on early in the year. What was it about that game that felt so special and could you feel it early on?

Steve Garrison: It was one of those days where if you missed a spot you could say, ‘Ok, here is what I did wrong.' Everything just clicked. It was one of those days I wish we could have every day. It is not always like that. You know how you felt that day and try and get back to it and feel it every time.

In your bullpens, you try and work on why it happened so in the game if you do make a mistake, you can adjust. This game is about adjustments and making the next pitch better than the one before it.

Do you keep a journal?

Steve Garrison: I try to – off and on. If I am in the mood, I will write in it. I need to get better at that. Write down what worked for me and take down those mental notes. Not as much as I should.

Is the key to not rely on it so much so you are not thinking about it when you get to the mound?

Steve Garrison: Sometimes you do go to the mound and say, ‘I am going to throw this guy a slider, curveball, changeup.' You get all confused. That is one thing Webber is helping me with as well – the mental side of the game. ‘Go pitch-by-pitch. If you miss a pitch, go to the next pitch. Then learn from that when it is over.'

Sometimes, I will catch myself thinking two or three pitches ahead and that is not always a good thing. If you are on, maybe it is ok. But, you want to execute each pitch and get better on each pitch.

How often have you shaken off a pitch that you actually wanted to throw?

Steve Garrison: (laughter) Sometimes you shake and think, ‘Oh wait, I wanted to throw that pitch.' I have been blessed with the great catchers we have. Colt Morton and Jose Lobaton have been great. Lobaton and I were in Lake Elsinore together so we get on the same page quickly. Colt is a big league catcher and it is nice to have him back there. He sees things I might not see. It is nice to have both back there.

When Colt Morton came back down after being in the big leagues for a few weeks, it had to seem like the wise man came home. Were all the pitchers hovering around him to get the skinny?

Steve Garrison: Of course you want to pick his brain, but he is trying to get better and progress too. When he is catching us, it is that much better. Colt is great. He always comes down and talks to us and is always trying to help us get better and mature. He goes about it the right way.

Is there a pitch you are specifically working on in bullpens?

Steve Garrison: I am always working on everything – make all my pitches better.

That is the copout answer.

Steve Garrison: (laughs) The changeup is a pitch I am working on. Most of all, I am trying to repeat it. I will throw one good one and then three bad ones. It is a pitch you have to keep working on until you get it. Some days it is on.

I am also working on the two-seamer a little more. I am trying to get a little more movement down in the zone. I guess you could say changeup and two-seam…but then again one day my curveball might be bad and I have to work on that or the slider might need help and I will work on that. You really do work on everything.

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