Garland a deserving pick to start opener
Consistent, durable right-hander a perfect fit for Padres
The Padres created quite a stir in Spring Training with their go-go mentality on the bases, but when Opening Day rolls around on Monday in Phoenix, they hope the storyline going forward will be their pitching.
Jon Garland, a free-agent acquisition in the offseason, makes his first Opening Day start for his new team, when the Padres face the D-backs at Chase Field at 2:10 p.m. PT.
From the day the Padres inked Garland in January, they've talked highly of his durability and dependability, pointing to the fact he has thrown at least 191 2/3 innings every season since 2002.
San Diego hopes it's an example those who follow him in the rotation can follow. Based on what Garland saw in Spring Training from the other pitchers in the rotation, he thinks it's possible that Chris Young, Kevin Correia, Clayton Richard and Mat Latos can follow in line.
"I've been on a pitching staff where one guy gets on the roll and the second guy gets on a roll and the third guy gets on a roll. When that happens, good things happen," Garland said. "That confidence builds."
Garland said he was flattered by the words Bud Black shared with him when he was pulled in the manager's office for the news.
"He said, 'I like the way you go about your business ... and I want people to follow your lead.' It was sort of a pat on the back, for him to have that respect for me," Garland said.
"He's been good to me ever since he was the pitching coach in Anaheim. Coming from a guy who was a pitcher himself, and a pretty good one, that feels good."
Garland, who signed a $4.7 million contract in January with a mutual option for 2011 and a $600,000 buyout, went 11-13 last season with a 4.01 ERA between six starts with the Dodgers and 27 with the D-backs.
San Diego Padres
|Projected Opening Day lineup|
Garland has a career record of 117-102 with a 4.42 ERA over a 10-year career in the Major Leagues.
Garland spent the first eight seasons of his career with the White Sox. He won 18 games in 2005 and again in '06. He made the American League All-Star team in '05.
"There's a reason Jon fits perfectly with what we're looking to accomplish this winter," Padres general manager Jed Hoyer said. "He's a young veteran, and we think can provide innings. He's always pitched in hitter's parks except the last month of the season with the Dodgers.
"Coming to the Padres and pitching in PETCO will help him a great deal. We think he will thrive here."
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.