Rangers pitcher Justin Grimm making most of opportunity

Posted Thursday, May. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Robbie Ross and Justin Grimm haven’t played golf in a while, but for a good reason.

“Because I’d take all of his money,” Ross said, laughing.

Grimm disagreed with that statement, but he still pays Ross on a monthly basis. Not for golf debts, though. Just rent.

Being roommates with Ross has plenty of perks for Grimm. Rent isn’t too expensive, which is nice, but not as nice has having Ross’ wife take care of his laundry and other upkeep around the house.

Those perks go away, however, if the rent check is late. Ross’ wife, Brittany, is more than happy to toss a trash can in Grimm’s bed as a friendly reminder.

“She’ll do that, or quit doing my laundry,” Grimm said, smiling. “But it’s a pretty good deal. A typical night after the game, we’ll watch some TV and then it’s just about bedtime and I head upstairs to my room.”

Grimm and Ross were roommates at High A Myrtle Beach in 2011, and again last season when Grimm was promoted to the big leagues. This season, Grimm wasn’t sure what to do living-wise when he got the big-league call on April 11.

At the time, Grimm had made only one start at Triple A Round Rock and thought Matt Harrison would have a short-term stay on the disabled list.

But Harrison is out until at least August, and it appears that Grimm will be rooming with the Rosses for the foreseeable future.

Grimm, 24, was named the American League Rookie of the Month for April, and has gone 3-3 with a 4.02 ERA over seven starts going into his start Friday night at Seattle.

He is coming off an impressive outing Saturday against the Detroit Tigers, in which he held them to two runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings for his first win since April 26. It was a significant turnaround from his start against them in 2012, when they pounded him for six runs on eight hits over one-plus inning.

“I took my last start a little personal because of what they did to me last year,” said Grimm, who was optioned back to the minors 12 days later.

“They definitely humbled me.”

Grimm has been humbled multiple times throughout his journey to the big leagues, beginning with what he calls three “miserable” years at the University of Georgia. He had a 10.91 ERA as a freshman, a year the Bulldogs reached the College World Series; a 4.15 ERA as a sophomore; and a 5.49 ERA as a junior.

At that point, Grimm knew that Georgia wasn’t the place for him. The Rangers’ area scout at the time, Ryan Coe, saw potential and pushed for the team to draft him in the fifth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

What impressed Coe?

“An athletic body, the way the arm works and he showed glimpses of being really good,” Coe said. “The bottom line is you’re looking for tools, and Justin had them. I saw him two weeks after we drafted him and you could already see significant improvement.”

Said Grimm: “I always knew I had the stuff. I just questioned myself a lot about why I wasn’t getting results. It ended up being simple things like getting ahead of hitters and not walking people. I just had to realize that.”

Grimm moved through the farm system relatively quickly. He split the 2011 season between Low A Hickory and High A Myrtle Beach, combining to go 7-3 with a 3.39 ERA.

He started last season at Double A Frisco, going 8-3 with a 1.87 ERA before being tabbed by the Rangers to replace an injured Alexi Ogando in the rotation. Grimm bounced between the Rangers and the minor leagues the rest of the season, and went into this season as one of the candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Grimm had a subpar spring training, though, and found himself at Round Rock to start the season until Harrison landed on the DL with a back injury.

Now, he’s back in the major leagues and making the most of it.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Grimm is a “great example” of what the organization tries to accomplish between their scouting department finding a player with Grimm’s raw talent and the development staff bringing it out.

Nobody is happier to see Grimm’s rise than his roommate.

“It’s awesome,” Ross said. “He’s worked so hard and he’s throwing it well. Hopefully he can keep it up.”

Justin Grimm’s season

DateOpponentResult (Record)InningsHitsRuns (earned)KBB
April 11SeattleW, 4-3 (--)452 (2)23
April 21SeattleW, 11-3 (1-0)662 (1)91
April 26MinnesotaW, 4-3 (2-0)750 (0)40
May 2Chicago White SoxL, 1-3 (2-1)6 2/363 (3)94
May 7MilwaukeeL, 3-6 (2-2)585 (5)73
May 13OaklandL, 1-5 (2-3)575 (5)32
May 18DetroitW, 7-2 (3-3)6 2/372 (2)21

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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