Thursday, March 04, 2010

Garrett Mock--Heading Down The Home Stretch

Acquired along with Matt Chico in August, 2006 for Livan Hernandez, Garrett Mock has struggled to maintain a regular gig in The Big Leagues for Our Washington Nationals. Never given a set role previously, The Big Texan's stock rose when Jim Riggleman first became Interim Manager in 2009. Garrett will be the starting pitcher today in the first of two split squad games to open the pre-season. Mock will throw at Kissimmee against The Houston Astros. As Riggleman told Nats320 a few weeks ago--Our Manager has a new found respect for Garrett Mock. The African Queen and I asked Mock about just that two days ago after practice in Viera, Florida.

Right before spring training began, we talked with Jim Riggleman. Talking about you, he said that he likes your ‘bulldog’ approach to the game on the mound and much of that respect came from feedback he’d received from other managers, coaches and players he talked to after you had pitched against their teams. (Nats320)

“(Sort of stunned to hear that) That’s a really huge compliment. But the only way that comment is going to hold any weight is if I go out there and do that consistently. As far as the team is concerned, last year is something we have all put past us, yet it’s not going to do any good if I don’t come back with that same approach I had toward the end of the season and grind it out every day.”

You were a different pitcher the last time you got recalled to Washington. You had more confidence than earlier. (Nats320)

“It’s a learning process. Last year, regardless how the game went, there is always a lot to digest. Knowing they (the team) were giving me a shot was a little more comforting than the what had happened in previous times when I was just going up and down and getting a role based on just what the need was at that time. Last year, I was informed they (the team) were going to give me a set role. That helped out tremendously. It allowed me to focus, learn and apply myself. Definitely, a completely different feel.”

Does that mean you have relaxed enough to make the major league game for your easier? (Nats320)

“I would never say that.”

Less stressful? (Nats320)

“I am a lot more at peace with who I am and what I am trying to accomplish on the mound. Last year, it was huge step to learn what my boundaries are--what I can and can’t do. So there is a little bit more of a comfort level there as far as knowing that if I stay within my boundaries, I am going to have a better chance. As opposed to trying to throw too hard, or trying to throw the best breaking ball--instead of just throwing my game like I was doing at Columbus and Syracuse so well.”

Control has always been a issue for you. Some say you nibble too much around the plate? What are doing to address those concerns? (Nats320)

“Believe it or not--trying to do less. The biggest times I fall into trouble is when I try to nail every single spot (pitch location). The foundation of my success is exactly what Riggleman commented to you--the bulldog, pitch to contact and basically--try to throw the ball right over the heart of the plate--down in the zone and trust the movement helps me when the hitter makes contact and I get some ground balls.”

“The only thing that is going to keep me away from success is me. And that’s kind of been my M.O. for a while. A lot of times, I think too much, whatever. This step was a huge step forward for me to quit all that. Now, I go out there, attack hitters and trust the defense.”

It must be comforting to also know that after all the ups and downs of the past few years, you are heading down the home stretch to a possible consistent Major League Job? (Nats320)

“Yeah, but that’s still up to the decision makers. Now since I am here and in a position to possibly helping out the team--the point of it all is winning. And whatever they are going to ask me to do and however it works out--I am ready to do that job.”

Mock Photo Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

SenatorNat said...

It will be interesting which one-three of Hernandez and the two we got in exchange for Livo four seasons ago wind-up on the roster for Opening Day and/or on the roster at the end of this season.

I will hazard this guess: all three on Opening Day; Chico only or none by the end of this season...

Trust in a relative abundance of pitching. And more as the season progresses. All 70%.