Kansas City Royals’ Amir Garrett reacts to MLB suspension and recent success on the mound

·4 min read
Reed Hoffmann/AP

Kansas City Royals left-hander Amir Garrett enjoys coming into a tight spot out of the bullpen and picking up the slack for one of his fellow pitchers, like he did Monday night.

But after receiving a three-game suspension prior to Monday’s night’s 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins, his teammates will now have to pick him up. After the game, Garrett, 30, expressed that he’s angry with himself regarding the news.

Garrett received the suspension for throwing a drink toward a fan who’d heckled him during a game the Royals lost against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field earlier this month. He’s appealing the suspension, and he’s able to pitch while MLB works through the appeal process.

“I’m pretty upset with myself, you know I let that get to me,” Garrett said. “But I think I’ve handled it pretty well. I reached out to the fan. We had dialogue and stuff like that. There was no hard feelings there. I sent him a jersey to him and his son. He was very grateful. It could’ve went south.

“But he was very kind to me, and I was letting him know how upset I was that in the moment I reacted like that. This is an opportunity for me to grow from, learn from. I’m a human. I’m going to make mistakes. I wish I had never reacted in that manner, but I did so I never shy away from anything. The news that we got wasn’t ideal, but you’ve got to accept what the consequences are. So I’m OK.”

Finding success on the mound

Garrett spoke in the visiting clubhouse at Target Field following a 4-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins. He pitched for the second consecutive day in a high-leverage situation.

Garrett entered with two men on in the seventh inning with the Royals trailing by two.

Reliever Jose Cuas, who stranded a runner in the sixth inning after coming on in relief of Kris Bubic, had given up a hit and then hit a batter.

Garrett got Jorge Polanco to hit into a double play started by some flashy glove work from third baseman Bobby Witt Jr. Then Garrett got pinch-hitter Gilberto Celestino to roll an inning-ending groundout.

“Cuas is my boy,” Garrett said. “Cuas has been pitching a lot. I take pride in not letting guys score, especially for the pitcher that’s in front of me. That’s something I definitely don’t want to do. I don’t want to give up their runs. I came in, and I’ve got to get out of this for my boy. I’ve got to. I’ve got to get it done no matter what.

“I made the right pitches and the defense helped out a lot. Bobby gets the ball right there. Double play. Then we get a grounder to end the inning. It just happens that fast.”

Garrett has not allowed an earned run since July 13.

“Great job by Amir,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said of Monday night’s outing. “Cuas gets his second hitter to two strikes, clips him and then puts us in a pretty bad spot, trying to keep right there at a two-run game.”

Since the MLB All-Star break, Garrett has held opposing hitters to an .097 batting average with a 0.90 WHIP in 10 innings. He has recorded eight strikeouts during that stretch.

“I’m just being more confident in my abilities out there on the mound,” Garrett said. “I’m using my fastball a lot and just hitting spots that I know I’m not going to get hurt in.”

Garrett said not being afraid to go to his fastball has been a big factor for him of late, and he’s gotten good results by featuring his two-seam fastball.

This season, Garrett has stranded 25 of 28 inherited base runners.

He’s the only left-handed reliever in the Royals’ bullpen.

“It’s just me being confident in the zone,” Garrett said. “Going up there and basically saying I don’t care. It’s me versus you. I’m going to give you my best stuff and here you go, hit it. That was a mindset that I’ve always had before. I shied away from that a little bit. I think I’m slowly regaining that. I’m happy things are going pretty well now.

“All I can do is continue to work hard and keep going because I’m not satisfied with anything that I’m doing right now. It feels a little bit better, the results, but I’ve got to keep going.”