Garr developing a third pitch

Relief pitcher Brennan Garr has been one of the most impressive players in the Rangers organization this season, as he has held opposing hitters to a .168 batting average between Single-A Clinton and High-A Bakersfield this season. Lone Star Dugout speaks with the hard-throwing hurler about his season so far.

The Rangers' ninth round pick in the 2006 draft, right-handed pitcher Brennan Garr has quickly become arguably the organization's top relief prospect.

Armed with a fastball that reaches the mid-90's, Garr has posted a 2.03 ERA in 34 games between Single-A Clinton and High-A Bakersfield this season. The hurler has allowed only 32 hits in 53 1/3 total innings, walking 21 and fanning 68. Since joining Bakersfield, he has given up seven hits in 14 1/3 innings, striking out 18.

"I'm treating it just like I was in Clinton," said Garr of his time with High-A Bakersfield. "I just want to stick with what my strengths are. I want to locate my fastball and keep balls down. I told myself coming in here I was going to treat the hitters the same as Clinton."

Making the move from the Midwest League to the hitter-friendly Cal League, Garr had heard horror stories from others. However, he believes his ability to keep the ball in the zone is helping to neutralize those factors.

"I heard a lot of stories coming in from guys on the team," he said. "They said it was hard to pitch in this league, the wind always blows out, and the fields aren't as big. I just told myself to keep the ball down. If they hit ground balls, they aren't going to hit it out of the park."

While the reliever is moving out of a pitcher's haven, he is also departing a playoff-bound Clinton team for a last place Bakersfield club. Garr says that although the Blaze are currently in the cellar, they have played better lately.

"I'm just treating it one game at a time," said Garr. "When I first got here, we won four or five in a row. You can tell this team is turning a little bit. We're starting to hit and pitch at the same time. As long as I've been here, we've turned it around quite a bit."

Since Garr was promoted to Bakersfield, he has been reunited with six of his teammates from Clinton. The 23-year-old believes they have helped him make the transition easier.

"It helps to see familiar faces all the time," said the Colorado native. "It also helped when I came to Clinton for the first time. [Mike] Micucci and Danny Clark were coaches in Spokane last year. I met Andy in spring training, the pitching coach here. He knew a little about me. It was nice seeing [Omar] Poveda and some old faces out here."

A product of Northern Colorado, Garr was a two-pitch pitcher until this season, using his fastball and slider exclusively. He has since added a changeup, which is he working on with the Blaze.

"We've been working on throwing my changeup more often," said Garr. "I'm learning to throw it in whatever count I want and to throw it for strikes. I'm basically just using that a lot more."

Garr, who didn't begin using the changeup consistently until the second half of this season, is beginning to find a comfort zone with the pitch.

"[The pitch] actually got introduced to me in the offseason," he said. "I started throwing it then. I just started working with it, playing catch and stuff. I wasn't really using it in games. "The second half came and I actually developed a feel for it. It has actually been one of my better pitches."

For the remainder of the 2007 campaign, Garr would like to continue keeping the ball low in the zone.

"I'm working on keeping my slider down, getting ground balls with that. A lot of that goal is to keep using that changeup now."

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