Nick Gardewine hopped a flight to John Wayne Airport around 10 a.m. Monday for the trip all players in the minor leagues hope to make some day.
There just aren’t many who get their call to the majors while in Double A.
But Gardewine became the second Frisco right-handed reliever to join the Texas Rangers’ bullpen this month after Ricky Rodriguez did so two weeks ago. And they have more in common than skipping Triple A and their right-handedness.
They rate as the latest success stories of the Rangers’ scouting and development crew, manager Jeff Banister said.
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“Why these guys? Because they’re the ones who proved so far that they’re the ones who deserve the opportunity to come pitch in the major leagues and help us out,” Banister said. “But it speaks more to our scouting system and development system than anything else.”
Gardewine, like Rodriguez, throws a lot of strikes. He issued only four walks after the Texas League All-Star Game while striking out 31. He said that he is most successful when commanding a fastball that reaches 95 mph and mixing in a slider.
Opponents hitting .269 against him in 33 2/3 innings this season, but he allowed only two home runs.
“Just overall I try to throw it over the plate and compete,” said Gardewine, the Rangers’ seventh-round pick in 2013. “You can ask the hitters. They’re going to lose more times than me, so it’s just how I attack hitters.”
Gardewine replaces Matt Bush, who is on the disabled list with a sprained right knee after his Sunday collision with Joey Gallo. Tony Barnette, Jason Grilli and Rodriguez could see their late-game work increase with Bush down.