Greg Garcia plays an essential role for the San Diego Padres as a utility man and leader in the clubhouse.
It is difficult being a utility player in the major leagues. Sometimes you will not play for a week.
For the Padres, the team brought in a local guy to fit that role in 2019.
Greg Garcia is a six-year veteran of the majors and well-respected in the clubhouse. Garcia spoke about his role on the team, and he was not candid about it. “The role is all I have ever known in the big leagues, to be honest with you. As long as we are winning, I just don’t care,” Garcia said with a serious look. He wants to win and knows his job on the team. When and if a time comes for him, he will be ready for action.
Staying fit and ready to play at the drop of a hat is a tough thing to do. The veteran left-handed hitter works very hard at his craft. “For me to stay fresh, I have to do a lot of work. I need to take a lot of swings. I need to do a lot of machine work,” Garcia said. It is all about preparation work for the Valhalla High graduate. There are other ways to keep yourself in the game when you aren’t playing. “I really watch the game from the bench. You can learn a lot from there. You need to keep your mind fresh,” Garcia told EVT.
Fernando Tatis Jr. has been impressive for the Padres in his rookie campaign. Garcia recognizes what he has seen from the young player and is really impressed with the way he carries himself. “Tatis is on a different level right now. He is playing really well. He does everything right, and he works extremely hard,” Garcia said. He did not leave out the other young players on the team as each has plenty of upside. “The other young guys are playing well too. To be in the big leagues at such a young age is incredible. Franmil has been doing awesome. Mejia has been doing awesome. They just get it,” Garcia said with a smile. He enjoys his time with these young players. You get a sense it helps keep the 29-year-old feel young at heart.
The Padres recently lost six in a row as the youthful squad was tested early after an 11-5 start. Garcia communicated how the team made it through the losing streak. “We just went through a tough stretch. It didn’t really matter, that is behind us. How this team responded during that stretch was key. Even though we weren’t winning, our confidence level was high,” Garcia said. The youthful team was able to right the ship and the calming influence of the veterans.”When you back is against the wall, you get tested. We were challenged early, and guys did not miss a beat. It was tough, but we knew we had to start playing better,” Garcia stated.
The native of San Diego is delighted to be home and playing for the Padres. He is soaking up California life and enjoying every minute of it. “Just being able to see family. It is something that I am not taking for granted. To be home living this lifestyle is great,” Garcia said with a big smile. He spent time with his brother and father during the Easter Holiday weekend and moments like that are a treasure for the utility player.
Andy Green inherited a Padres team that was rebuilding three years ago. This 2019 season, he has a squad that is full of talent. Expectations are high for the team, and Garcia made it clear that his manager is well respected in the clubhouse. “I think Andy is one of the best in-game managers I have ever seen. He sees matchups and stuff before it even happens. In the National League, you have to do that. He is able to follow along and make a lot of great decisions. He is a great leader, and guys want to play for him,” Garcia said. The Padres are content with what Andy Green brings to the team. He was signed to a three-year extension recently and will be allowed to grow alongside his youthful squad. Greg Garcia is truly enjoying the Padres’ process being developed. We spoke briefly about coaching as I asked the veteran if he would follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. If the right opportunity came along, I wouldn’t say no. Hopefully, that is not for a few years, and I will make the decision when it comes. I would never rule it out though,” Garcia said with a wink.