Garrett feels 'prepared' for big league debut

Starter fans three in three scoreless innings vs. Reds Futures on Saturday

Garrett feels 'prepared' for big league debut

DAYTON, Ohio -- Reds left-hander Amir Garrett's basketball experience doesn't usually help him on the baseball diamond.

But Garrett thinks it may come in handy in St. Louis on Friday, when he makes his big league debut.

"I played basketball in front of a lot of people," Garrett said. "I won't go in as jacked up as I could be. I'm going to try to settle down before the game."

Garrett threw three scoreless innings in the Reds' 5-1 win over their Futures Team Saturday at Fifth Third Field in the club's exhibition finale. The Reds hit three home runs: a three-run shot by Stuart Turner and solos by Scott Schebler and Patrick Kivlehan.

"[Garrett] looked good," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "We talked a lot about the development of these young players. Amir came in today and threw a really nice fastball-changeup combination. He threw some sliders to the lefties. But for the most part, he was fastball, changeup to righties.

"The changeup is going to be a big part of his development into a real fine big league starting pitcher."

Garrett, 24, is one of four new starters in the Reds' rotation. He is the least experienced of the four, and that's partially due to his basketball background. The Reds picked Garrett in the 22nd round of the 2011 Draft. At the time, he was committed to playing basketball at St. John's.

Garrett discusses making team

Garrett played three years of basketball -- two at St. John's and one at Cal State Northridge. He was still juggling the two sports when he made his first stop at Class A Dayton.

"I got beat up a little bit," Garrett said.

Garrett with 1-3 with a 6.88 ERA for the Dragons in 2013. He returned in '14 as a full-time baseball player, going 7-8 with a 3.64 ERA.

Garrett has steadily gotten better. In 2016, he went a combined 7-8 with a 2.55 ERA in stops at Double-A Pensacola and Triple-A Louisville. He struck out 132 and allowed just 99 hits in 144 2/3 innings.

Garrett came to Spring Training with a shot at making the big league club. He was among the best of the young pitchers competing for the rotation. Saturday was his fourth outing without allowing an earned run. He finished the spring 4-1 with a 3.70 ERA.

"I feel good," Garrett said. "I prepared myself for this moment. I did everything I could in the offseason. In Spring Training, I worked my butt off. We're going to see how it plays out in the big leagues. I'm excited."

Despite the basketball experience, despite pitching twice in the Futures Game, Garrett knows Friday will be different.

"I went through this over and over in my head," Garrett said. "I don't know what it's going to be like. I'm going to be nervous. I'm going to be excited. The emotion.

"I'm going to go out there and try to have fun. It'll be at the Cardinals' stadium. It's going to be crazy over there."

John Fay is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Reds on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.