Boisterous Garza a hit in Brewers' clubhouse
PHOENIX -- If you thought Matt Garza would quietly feel his way around his new team, think again.
"I didn't realize how much fun he would bring to the table," Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado said. "He's like, 'Boom -- I'm here.'"
Pitcher Tyler Thornburg, whose locker is next to Garza's, used one of the same words.
"He's like, 'Hey guys, I'm here -- boom,'" Thornburg said. "He's definitely an extroverted guy, and so far he's been a lot of fun."
"It's something that we probably need to keep the young guys loose," Maldonado said.
Manager Ron Roenicke feels the same way, and he has been happy to see and hear Garza's boisterous clubhouse presence. Last year, Roenicke worried about the Brewers being a bit too reserved, and he urged some of the team's more outspoken players, including center fielder Carlos Gomez, to have fun.
"[Garza's] personality is not a guy who comes into a new organization and just sits quietly and watches," Roenicke said Friday, on the eve of the Brewers' first full-squad workout. "His personality, he's all over the place. He's vocal. He's laughing. But what I like about it is he really works hard. I think that's a great combination to have; you have fun when you have fun, but when [he] needs to bear down, he'll bear down.
"I think it's good to have personalities on the team, it's good to have characters on the team. He's a guy I think is going to fit in and really help us with his personality."
There's also Kyle Lohse, who pitched for the Brewers last season but signed so late in Spring Training that he needed some time to feel his way around the clubhouse. This year, Lohse should be comfortable to play more of a leadership role, Roenicke said.
"We talked this winter, and he would like to be a little more vocal and I would like him to be vocal," Roenicke said. "I think that will work out well."
In the interest of giving veterans a bigger say, Roenicke rearranged the Brewers' Spring Training clubhouse. Instead of going by uniform numbers, the more veteran players tend to occupy lockers on the west end of the room, where Roenicke sets up for the daily morning meeting. All of the projected starting pitchers, the two regular catchers and the most established relievers all occupy one bank of lockers at stage right.
"We thought it was a good way to do it," Roenicke said. "The way we had it before when it was numerically, I was always wanting to talk to Yovani [Gallardo] in the meetings, and 'Yo' was always stuck all the way back in that corner. … Now, the veteran group is right there."