Steve Garrison: Everything is going great. I started throwing pens and then got into games. Everything is going great. The rehab is going great. I'm stronger than I've ever been, doing the rotator cuff exercises, now it's just getting back to throwing. But everyone is doing a great job. Matt, my physical therapist, has a great rehab program.
How are you handling it mentally. Has stepping away from the game given you a different perspective?
Steve Garrison: It definitely has. I realize that I have to care of myself really well. When you come up you think that you are invincible since everything feels great. But you still have to take care of yourself. You have to do your rehab and take care of maintenance work with your arm. In that sense, it was a big wake up call. In other aspects, stepping away lets you learn more about the mental side of the game. Watching the game and talking to guys you get to see a different side of it. I'm excited to come back and do what I need to do.
Did you feel like you weren't taking care of your arm?
Steve Garrison: I feel like I took care of myself as much as I could, as much as I was told to do. Looking back, there's always a ‘what if…' kind of thing. I guess I could have taken care of it more. I'm learning my body. That's the biggest part is knowing your body. I didn't really know my body, and how much I should do: whether I was doing too much, or too little. But now, I'm learning exactly how much my body can take and how much to do to keep it strong.
You have been touted as someone with clean mechanics. Does that make the injury even more frustrating?
Steve Garrison: It was a surprise. I dealt with shoulder tendonitis in the past, but it's one of those things. A lot of pitchers go through surgery, and [knock on wood] my elbow's been great. But it's kind of one of those things. I had a feeling that sooner or later something was going to happen. But everything happens for a reason, and now, I'm learning my body, and, hopefully, I can take that to the next level and keep continuing the progress. If it had to happen, I'm glad that it happened now, and not later down the road. I'm also getting stronger in my legs so I take some of the pressure off my upper body. I'm happy with my mechanics, so I don't want to change anything.
Last year you were working on your changeup. Are you still able to work on it at all?
Steve Garrison: Yes, I'm always working on my grips, getting it to feel comfortable in your hands. But now, I‘m working on the mental side of it. . I get to talk to different people, and figuring out when to use the change up; what counts to use it in, what kind of hitters to use it with. That's pretty much the big thing. Pitch selection, sequencing I'm learning about scouting and how important it is to know your hitters. The more I know about them the more confident I feel against them. Right now, I'm focused on getting my arm healthy after that, I can work on everything else.
The opposition rarely threw lefties out there for you to face last season. Did that actually help your development in facing all those righties?
Steve Garrison: Last season in San Antonio, I think I was the only lefty in the rotation, so I'd see all their lefties and then I'd come up and there'd be all righties. I like facing lefties. I feel like I'm more confident against them, but then again the more practice I get against righties the better. I can work on my changeup more and things like that. But when I face a lefty, I'm ready for them. If a lefty wants to face me then great. If not, I want to know that I have the same confidence against righties.
There is always talk of pitchers setting up hitters but did you feel like hitters are evening the gap and beginning to setup you as a pitcher to throw a certain pitch at the highest levels?
Steve Garrison: You definitely see some of that. You have to realize that all those scouting reports that we get on them, they get on us. Once you get started, the leadoff guy is telling everyone in the dugout what you have that day. It's like a chess game. Guessing what the other person is going to do.
So, a lot of times, you'll see the leadoff hitter lay off the outside pitch. But if you execute a pitch the way that it was intended and get it where you want it to be, it's pretty hard to handle, and if they do, all you can do is tip your hat to them doing a good job. Hitters get better and better, but it's a part of the game. You just have to try to be more successful than they are that day. I just focus on my strengths and not their weaknesses.
Getting more downward movement on the two-seam was also on your agenda. How do you accomplish something like that?
Steve Garrison: Just keep working on it. I'm happy. I don't have the overpowering stuff, so I like to locate. I can locate really well on my four-seam, so I'm just working on my two-seam when I get healthy.
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