CINCINNATI—Amir Garrett admitted he was as nervous as anyone else on the day of his big league debut. The lefthander said he threw up on the morning of April 7 and felt nauseous as he waited to take on the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
But unlike many other prospects, the 2011 22nd-round pick had been in high-pressure situations in front of a huge crowd before. Busch Stadium is almost always full, but they’re relative calm compared the Cameron Crazies. Playing at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, now that’s pressure. And that’s something Garrett had already done.
Garrett spent his first two years out of high school splitting time between playing in the Reds’ organization and playing basketball at St. John’s. It was that experience that helped Garrett relax when it came to his debut.
“I was nervous, but then again, I thought back to myself, I’ve been here before already, why do I have to be nervous?” Garrett said. “When I thought about that, instantly everything went away. I stepped up on the mound, it’s like ‘I’ve been here already, you’ve been in big crowds, big-time environments.’”
So in his debut, all he did was throw six shutout innings, allowing two hits and two walks with four strikeouts, earning the win against former Reds first-round pick Mike Leake of the Cardinals.
Then he did it again, beating the Pirates five days later at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Garrett was one of three Reds to make their big league debut in the first two weeks of the season, neither of the other two, Rookie Davis or Sal Romano, saw the fourth inning. Garrett went 12 innings before giving up a run. Both Davis and Romano admitted to nerves before their first start, nerves that carried over into the game.
“That’s why we don’t set great expectations for these guys (in their first starts),” Reds manager Bryan Price said after Romano’s debut. “That’s what stood out about Amir, Amir was just a pitcher, he pitched the same way in St. Louis as if he was making his first start for Louisville. That’s what kind of makes him an eye-popper.”
• Righthander Ian Kahaloa is in a drug treatment program following a 50-game suspension for a second positive test of a drug of abuse.
• Righthander Tanner Rainey allowed just one baserunner in his first 22 batters faced on the season for high Class A Daytona, that batter reached on an error. Of those 21 outs he recorded in that stretch, 16 were by way of strikeout.
— C. Trent Rosecrans covers the Reds for the Cincinnati Enquirer