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Garza rocked in one inning

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By Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
March 3, 2014

 

A game is a game to Matt Garza.

Be it his Milwaukee Brewers Cactus League debut, as it was for him Sunday, or a start in the playoffs, the right-hander famous for his intensity between the lines is always going to bring the intensity.

“It's a baseball game,” Garza said matter-of-factly after scuffling in his lone inning against the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields. The Brewers eventually won, 6-5.

“You guys might think it's spring, but for me, it's a baseball game. I'm just one of those guys where it's, 'A new season, you get to start over. Let's go.'”

Statistically speaking, Garza's first start for the Brewers was tough. In a 28-pitch outing, he allowed four hits, four earned runs and two walks without a strikeout against a Colorado team playing all its big guns.

Carlos Gonzalez singled home one run against Garza, who got Wilin Rosario to line into a 4-3 double play. But Michael McKenry followed with a two-run double and Brandon Barnes an RBI single to give Colorado a 4-1 lead.

“He was just all over the place,” said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. “His command, changeup and fastball were certainly not where he wanted. But, hey, he got in a lot of pitches.”

Garza finally got Charlie Culberson to foul out to end the frame and his day. He entered with a pitch limit of between 20-35 pitches, but that high-effort first inning proved to be more than enough.

“I think mentally, it's more just the work,” he said. “Your body can train to do this, but mentally you've got to be able to control your emotions. I worked all off-season to come out and play and now you get to play and you're just excited. Everything was just fast and flying for me.

“I couldn't sleep last night, so it was just one of those things where my energy level just kind of took over and you go from there. I threw some good pitches early and then I tried to change some things.”

Like all pitchers this time of year, Garza is in the early stages of his preparation. He threw only fastballs and changeups, and Colorado's hitters took advantage as he struggled with his location.

“I knew what I had,” said Garza, who signed a four-year, $50 million contact with the Brewers in late March, the largest such deal in club history.

“I'm at the point where I'm not throwing everything I have in my repertoire. I'm just working on locating my fastball and then working on a changeup. Putting that in my repertoire and getting it better and better.

“It's kind of one of those things where if you're not throwing your only off-speed pitch good, tee time. They put the ball in play really hard—I don't like that—but it's just get back to where I can do it again.”

Said Roenicke: “He's an aggressive guy. He does get amped up. He's got to get where his arm strength is enough to where it matches his rhythm and everything is in sync. That's what we've always said about him—when he gets in a rhythm, he's really good.”

A year ago at this time, Garza was dealing with a strained muscle in his left side while still with the Chicago Cubs. He opened the season on the disabled list before finally making his debut on May 21.

With that in mind, Garza wasn't too upset about how things broke for him Sunday.

“It is a process,” he said. “I have a history of very not good springs. I don't take pride in that, but I take pride in my work when I get it done. And when the bell rings, I'm ready to go. However I've got to get them, I'm going to get them.

“When it's my time to go, you'd better believe I'm ready to toe it up and let's get this thing rolling.”



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