Garrett hopes to get back in groove after serving suspension

Reds reliever threw scoreless inning Sunday

Cincinnati Reds reliever Amir Garrett learned one thing from his five-game suspension.

“I learned not to have fun,” Garrett said Sunday.

Garrett was suspended seven games May 4 for his role in a benches-clearing incident during a game against the Chicago Cubs. That penalty was reduced by two games, and he returned to action Sunday, throwing a scoreless sixth inning in a 7-6 victory on the road against the Colorado Rockies.

Garrett has now made five straight scoreless appearances, lowering his ERA from 14.21 to 7.94. His numbers had started to improve when he began his suspension.

The Reds (19-19), who start a four-game series Monday against the San Francisco Giants at Great American Ball Park, went 2-3 during his absence.

“It was pretty tough to watch my teammates and not be able to compete,” Garrett said. “It sucked sitting up there watching my team battle without me, but we live and learn. I’m glad it’s behind us now and I can just go play baseball and pick up where I left off. I was getting my groove back before I got suspended.”

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Garrett was the second Reds player suspended this season. Right fielder Nick Castellano served a two-game suspension for his involvement in a benches-clearing incident in April.

Garrett also was suspended eight games in 2019 for his role in a benches-clearing incident against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was surprised by the length of this suspension.

“I’m not going to talk about it too much,” Garrett said. “I’m not going to throw others under the bus, but I think that was kind of steep.”

After a dominant performance in spring training — he struck out 10 of the 12 batters he faced — Garrett struggled in April. He allowed four home runs in his first 6 1/3 innings. He was especially bothered by the hits he was giving up to left-handed hitters.

A mechanical adjustment helped Garrett turn the corner.

“I looked at the video,” Garrett said, “and Wade (Miley) found something, and I went to the Dodgers game, and I felt it. I was like, ‘OK, this is a little bit better. Then after that I just started putting some good outings out there. ... Hitters are good. They get paid to hit the ball. I was pulling off on my shoulder, so I was exposing everything.”

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