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Eyeing starting job, Garrett already in camp

MLB.com @m_sheldon

CINCINNATI -- With his goal to earn a job on the big league pitching staff for the Reds when Spring Training opens next week, Amir Garrett isn't wasting time. Like others on the club, Garrett is already in camp in Goodyear, Ariz., working out and getting ready.

"I got here on Sunday," Garrett said Friday on MLB Network's Hot Stove. "I just had to get out here, get situated and get going. I was itching to get back out here."

CINCINNATI -- With his goal to earn a job on the big league pitching staff for the Reds when Spring Training opens next week, Amir Garrett isn't wasting time. Like others on the club, Garrett is already in camp in Goodyear, Ariz., working out and getting ready.

"I got here on Sunday," Garrett said Friday on MLB Network's Hot Stove. "I just had to get out here, get situated and get going. I was itching to get back out here."

Garrett, 25, made the Reds out of Spring Training last year but went 3-8 with a 7.39 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP in 16 games (14 starts) during his rookie year. He missed time with a right hip injury and also spent a large bulk of the season at Triple-A Louisville.

Video: Garrett focused on conditioning, health for 2018

It was the first real setback Garrett experienced in professional baseball after coming to the game a little later in life. A 22nd-round Draft pick by the Reds in 2011, he split his time playing college basketball as a guard and forward for St. John's University in New York. The left-hander didn't turn his attention to baseball full-time until 2014.

Once he did, Garrett moved quickly through the Reds' system and made his big league debut in 2017. He started out with 12 scoreless innings over his first two starts and struck out 12 batters in his third start. Struggles came after that.

Garrett told MLB.com last month that he underwent platelet-rich plasma and stem cell injections on his sore hip and that he's 100 percent again after rehabilitation. He said on MLB Network on Friday that he's still a work in progress as a pitcher.

"I'm still learning to this day. I still feel like I'm pretty raw," Garrett said. "I haven't even tapped the surface of my abilities and what I can do. I've gotten better from just being on the mound. I'm still an unfinished product, but I'm getting there. It's getting close."

Video: Amir Garrett breaks down his wedding proposal

Besides getting healthy in the offseason, Garrett's biggest moment came in his personal life. He got engaged while his girlfriend was throwing him a surprise party. Little did she know, the ring was already bought and he was ready.

"Me being the smart guy that I am, I knew my fiancée was throwing me a surprise party," Garrett said. "She had all of my family and friends and a going away video for me saying good luck. At the end of the video, I was on there telling her I appreciate her and all of that. [Afterwards] I popped the question. It was the biggest day of my life, and the happiest day of my life."

Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook.

Cincinnati Reds, Amir Garrett