Blogs > Minor Matters

Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

For Garrison, a return to Trenton means family, friends and familar food

TAMPA, Fla. – When Steve Garrison, a Trenton native, learned he had been assigned to the Thunder he did what any good son would do first: He called his mother.

“I called my mom to tell her I’m coming home,” he said yesterday after his completing his start in a split-squad game. “Before spring training, she knew there was a chance that I was going to Trenton. She was very excited. With the past two organizations I’ve been with (the Brewers and the Padres), I haven’t been anywhere close to the northeast, so it’s really nice to be on a team that has a team in the northeast. I’m very excited to see my family and friends.”

Garrison, now officially penned in behind Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Graham Stoneburner and Shaeffer Hall as the final member to the team’s rotation, has taken a rather circuitous road home from draft day in 2005, when the Brewers made him their 10th-round selection.

He started his career in rookie ball, with the Arizona League Brewers, before moving up to Low-A West Virginia the next season.

In July 2007, Garrison was swapped the Padres with fellow prospects Will Inman and Joe Thatcher for reliever Scott Linebrink, and spent the next three seasons tooling around San Diego’s system before San Diego gave him his walking papers in the middle of 2010.

With former Padres general manager Kevin Towers lurking in their system, the Yankees pounced. They designated lefty reliever Wilkin De La Rosa for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, then quickly claimed Garrison. He was scheduled to join the team for its playoff run, but a lingering injury put the kibosh on that thought.

Now, though, after spending the latter part of his days with the Padres working out of the bullpen, the Yankees have moved Garrison back to the rotation, where he will round out a Thunder rotation that includes top prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, as well as Graham Stoneburner and Shaeffer Hall.

If the weather cooperates, Garrison’s Thunder debut will take place on April 11 on the road against the Portland Sea Dogs. His Waterfront Park debut should come five days later, when Trenton takes on the Harrisburg Senators.

Because Garrison spent much of spring training in the major league camp, Thunder manager Tony Franklin hasn’t gotten much of a look at him. After a sharp outing on Sunday, however, Franklin sounded as if the lefty had made a good initial impression.

“What I saw today was pretty doggone good,” Franklin said. “There’s another good arm for the Thunder franchise and for our club, and that’s a good thing.”

Aside from his family and friends, there is another comfort of home for which Garrison simply could not find a viable substitute throughout his stops throughout the country.

“I love pork roll,” he said, a broad smile across his face. “I can’t wait to have a pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich. I miss it. I can’t have too many of them, but I can’t wait to have one.”

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