Notes: Garrett's talking practice?!, Miley exits

Prospective closer completes bullpen session, eyes Opening Day

March 12th, 2021

Amir Garrett threw a pain-free bullpen session prior to the Reds’ 7-4 win over the White Sox on Thursday, noting that it was a “relief” to get through it without incident.

“You always have … these little nagging pains or injuries or whatever aches,” he said. “Mine isn’t anything serious like that, but it is a relief as a player. It’s like ‘OK. I’m just a little dinged up, just a little bit. I’m good to go.’”

Garrett has yet to pitch in a Cactus League game after opening the spring with a sore left forearm. He’s been intent on nabbing the closer’s role before camp breaks, and because he’s now thrown two pain-free bullpens -- he threw his first one three days earlier -- he appears to be on track to pitch in a game soon. Garrett is hoping that happens later next week.

“I always tell the coaches, 'We talking about practice? Practice?!'” Garrett said, channeling his inner-Allen Iverson. “April 1, I’ll be ready. Just call me April 1. I’ll be there. Don’t worry. I’ll get it done.”

Garrett, who appeared in 21 games and pitched to a 2.45 ERA during last year’s abbreviated 60-game season, categorized the forearm soreness as mild. But because of the short nature of the 2020 year, he threw more bullpens in the offseason than he does in normal times. When the soreness crept in, he took that as a sign that he needed to scale back.

“I was throwing more than what I normally do, and I feel like my arm was telling me, 'Hey, relax a little bit,'” he said.

Manager David Bell predicted that Garrett will pitch in a game soon.

“The times I’ve spoken with him about his arm, he’s made me feel really good about it. It gives me confidence he’s going to be OK,” Bell said. “We still have time to get him back so he can start the season on time. I know today was a big step in the right direction. He’s getting closer to getting on the mound in a game. We’re not going to rush it, but we are anxious to get him back.”

Miley injures left hamstring

Left-hander Wade Miley left his outing Thursday in the fourth inning with a left hamstring injury.

Miley sustained the injury while pitching to Nick Williams with one out in the inning. The lefty had originally entered the game in the third in relief of starter Tyler Mahle.

Bell originally thought that the injury was around Miley’s knee, but he said later that it may be related to the lower hamstring. Bell hopes to have more information Friday.

“Hopefully it’s minor,” Bell said. “His pitches looked good. He was getting some chase with his pitches, his cutter looked good. That’s a good sign.

“We just have to be hopeful that this won’t be too much of a setback. You hate to see him go through anything. The bright side is it’s nothing with his arm. Because it’s a leg injury, hopefully he can get back quick.”

Akiyama progressing slowly

Shogo Akiyama, who missed seven days after his wife was involved in an accident in Cincinnati, appeared in his third spring game when he led off against the White Sox on Thursday. As the Reds’ designated hitter, Akiyama walked twice and stole a base. He grounded out and struck out in his other two plate appearances.

The outfielder has some catching up to do after missing so much time. Including Thursday’s game, Akiyama has had nine plate appearances this spring.

“There are at-bats that I thought I did my job, but obviously, there are at-bats where I haven’t caught up yet,” he said. “I just need to rack up those at-bats.”

Said Bell: “No concern there. He just needs at-bats. He had the later start than everyone else. He's still really early [in the] preliminary stages of his camp, so that's why he DH’d tonight. I wanted to be able to get him at least four at-bats and keep him off his feet in the field. We just need to get him more at-bats.”

Support for Votto

Having been through his own bout of COVID-19 last November, Garrett understands what first baseman Joey Votto may be going through. Votto will be sidelined for at least 10 days after contracting the virus, and the Reds officially placed him on the injured list Wednesday.

Garrett exchanged text messages with Votto and offered his teammate as many tips as he could think of, drawn from his own experience recovering from the ailment.

“It’s not something I take lightly,” Garrett said. “I gave him a text yesterday and was like, if he needed anything, I could drop it off at his front doorstep. [I] gave him little tips that helped me and my wife get over it.”

Up next

The Reds will head to Peoria on Friday to play the Mariners with first pitch scheduled for 8:40 p.m. ET. Right-hander Luis Castillo will take the mound for Cincinnati, making his spring debut. Lefty Nick Margevicius will start for Seattle. Fans can watch the game live on MLB.TV.