Justin Garza, who the Red Sox promoted from Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday, is a right-handed pitcher who Boston had interest in signing this past offseason.
He instead chose to sign with the Angels who designated him for assignment April 21. The Red Sox then claimed him off waivers April 28.
“The last couple of weeks have been crazy,” he said. “That’s just the name of the game and I ended up being here. So I guess it’s all worth it.”
Garza said the Red Sox were “very much interested.” So why did he sign with the Angels?
“I ultimately chose LA just because I grew up a fan. Close to home, went to college there,” said Garza who pitched at Cal State Fullerton. “But ultimately I ended up here, which is funny. And as I said, I’m just excited to be here.”
He also might have received a better offer from the Angels who signed Garza to a one-year split contract in December.
Red Sox pitching coach Dave Bush said May 1: “He was a guy we talked about in the wintertime. He ended up signing with LA. But he was a guy who we were interested in before. We like his stuff. Glad to have him now. Again, we tried to sign him before.”
Garza said he returned to using a shorter, harder slider since joining the Red Sox.
“I was throwing a big sweeper with the Angels,” he said. “I was trying to work on my old slider and bring that back and it’s been feeling really good.”
Why go back to it?
“I guess it’s easier for me to throw in the zone,” Garza said. “Like I said, I’ve thrown that pitch my whole life. So it’s nothing new. Just getting back to that and knowing what makes me effective.”
Boston made three other roster moves Tuesday in addition to recalled Garza. They placed righty John Schreiber on the IL, optioned lefty Brennan Bernardino and selected the contract of left-handed pitcher Ryan Sherriff.
Garza’s only experience in the major leagues came in 2021 when he made 21 appearances out of Cleveland’s bullpen. He posted a 4.71 ERA, 1.57 WHIP and .250 batting average against in 28 ⅔ innings. He struck out 29 and walked 18. He allowed 27 hits.
He allowed two runs in 5 ⅓ innings for Worcester.