Reds’ Garrett: ‘The real Amir that they were excited about is back’

Amir Garrett lost his mojo last season somewhere between Cincinnati and Triple-A Louisville.

Garrett started out the 2017 season like he was bound for the Cy Young Award. He was 2-1 with a 1.83 ERA after three starts. In his Major League debut April 7, Garrett pitched six scoreless innings against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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The 25-year old had one more good start before the ceiling he reached collapsed in back-to-back late May starts against the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland. In those outings he gave up six and seven runs, respectively.

The Reds sent him to Louisville. His confidence took a hit and his hip started to act up.

“Getting hurt and having my ups and downs, I felt I lacked confidence a little bit,” Garrett said. “I had a great offseason and watched a lot of video. When you go through struggles you find out a lot about yourself. I’m back and no matter what I go through, that confidence will never, ever leave me ever again. I was timid. All of that is out the window. The real Amir that they were excited about is back; 2017 is over.”

Reds manager Bryan Price left Garrett off his list of eight possible starters on the first day of camp but was excited about the left-hander’s performance in his split-squad game against the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.

Garrett pitched two perfect innings and struck out four.

“Amir was as good as I’ve ever seen him,” Price said. “He had velocity with command. He threw a slider and change-up for strikes. That’s the kind of performance you want to see from a guy coming off a tough season. He came out snorting fire and attacked the zone. It was a dare-to-be-noticed moment.”

“There was nothing holding me back,” Garrett said.

Castillo sharp

Luis Castillo pitched two scoreless innings against the White Sox, allowing one hit while striking out one.

“Luis was sharp. He was around the plate with three pitches,” Price said. “It was exactly what you would want out of the first spring game.”

Castillo threw 29 pitches. With a good report on Homer Bailey, Price is encouraged about the competition.

“Things are shaping up,” Price said.

Reds adding outfielder

The Reds are bringing outfielder Ben Revere into camp. They intend to sign him if he passes the physical.

Revere, a left-handed hitter, has played for five teams in his eight-year career. He was with the Los Angeles Angels last season, playing in 109 games with a .275 batting average. Revere is known for his speed and his glove.

The 29-year old from Lexington, Kentucky broke in with the Minnesota Twins in 2010. Revere played for Philadelphia, Toronto and Washington in addition to the Angels.

A career .284 hitter, Revere led the National League with 184 hits in 2014 while stealing a career-high 49 bases for the Phillies. He stole 21 with the Angels last season.

Aquino launches one

None of the reporters covering the Reds traveled to the White Sox game. Price went on the road, while Jim Riggleman managed the Reds against Cleveland at home.

Price described a long home run by Aristedes Aquino against Chicago’s Michael Ynoa.

“He got an inside fastball and pulled it right down the line off the back fence,” Price said.

The back fence at the Camelback Ranch Ball Park is about 40 feet up a hill past the left-field bullpen fence. It would have traveled around 400 feet.

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