Amir Garrett bringing his ‘A’ game for Cincinnati Reds

Rookie starter made history in his first two big-league appearances

Cincinnati Reds starter Amir Garrett carved the letter “A” into the mound with his cleat Wednesday at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. He said it’s something he’s done as long as he can remember. He does it before each inning.

“It’s my mound,” Garrett said. “It’s my domain. That’s my home right there.”

Sometimes opposing pitchers cross out the A. Garrett carves out another “A” anyway when he returns to the mound.

As a reporter pointed out to him Thursday after the Reds returned to Great American Ball Park for the start of a four-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers, it could mean he’s bringing his “A” game to the mound.

“Sometimes I don’t bring my A game, but the A will still be there,” Garrett said.

Garrett has brought his best to the mound in his first two big-league starts. He threw six scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory against the Cardinals on April 7 in St. Louis. He threw six scoreless innings Wednesday in a 9-2 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates before giving up a two-run home run to David Freese in the seventh.

With 12 scoreless innings to start his career, Garrett tied Billy Rhines (1890) for the second-longest scoreless streak to begin a career in Reds history. Wayne Simpson threw 15 straight to begin his career in 1970.

Garrett has performed like a veteran. He’s a big reason the Reds took a 7-2 record, their best mark through nine games since 1990, into the start of a 10-game homestand.

“I just look at it as I belong here,” Garrett said. “I expand my brain a lot more than just baseball. If keeping my composure is all I’ve got to do, if I give up a hit or a run, there’s bigger problems in the world. I just look at it as like I’m blessed.”

Garrett is one of 11 pitchers in baseball to start the season 2-0. Of those, only the Oakland A’s Andrew Triggs (0.00) and the Minnesota Twins’ Ervin Santana (0.69) have better ERAs than Garrett’s 1.42.

The Reds drafted Garrett, 24, in the 22nd round in 2012. He spent the entire 2014 season with the Dayton Dragons, finishing 7-8 with a 3.65 ERA. Last season, he moved up to Triple-A Louisville for the first time and was 2-5 with a 3.46 ERA in 11 starts.

Garrett was one of seven rookies on the Opening Day roster and he has learned enough in less than two weeks in the big leagues to know he wants to stay for a long time.

“It’s been awesome,” Garrett said. “It’s a dream come true. All the stories I’ve heard, everything is exactly what I’ve heard. Being in the big leagues is something special, and I’m enjoying every bit of it.”


Brewers at Reds, 7:10 p.m., FS Ohio, 700, 1410

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