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07/28/09 11:12 PM ET
Garko excited to join Giants' chase
Teammates glad to get power infusion from first baseman
By Andrew Pentis / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Meeting with reporters prior to the Giants game Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Ryan Garko declared himself "a piece of the puzzle" in his new team's quest for a postseason berth. After playing his first seven professional seasons in the Cleveland Indians organization -- which traded him for Class A pitcher Scott Barnes on Monday -- Garko only needs to stop referring to the Giants as "they." That shouldn't take long. "It's kind of like changing schools in the middle of the year," he said. "You got to walk into a new place." Center fielder Aaron Rowand, who as a former member of the Chicago White Sox often played against Garko in seasons past, welcomed him into the clubhouse. But Garko only needed to be introduced to his new teammates, not shown a map of San Francisco. "As soon as the plane landed [Monday] night, I [was] excited to play in the Bay Area," said the Stanford product. "I'm really excited to be a part of this. ... It's every player's dream to get back in the postseason." To add Garko to the 25-man roster Tuesday, the Giants placed right fielder Nate Schierholtz on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Monday. Schierholtz strained his left hip when leaping to make a catch during the Giants' game Thursday in Atlanta and will not resume baseball activities for six to eight days, according to manager Bruce Bochy. Garko, 28, had already spoken with his agent (who also represents new teammate Tim Lincecum) about the possibility of playing in San Francisco before Monday's deal was consummated. On Tuesday, the right-handed hitter unpacked his suitcase and picked up jersey No. 23. (He didn't even ask clubhouse manager Mike Murphy for the vaunted No. 25, his usual number with the Indians.) After taking his first round of batting practice at AT&T Park, he marveled at the short left-field wall -- the one at Progressive Field is 19 feet tall -- and the beneficial hitter's eye beyond center field as well as the relatively warmer weather. In his Giants debut Tuesday night, Garko flied out to center field in his first at-bat. But in five years at the Major League level, Garko's 162-game average for home runs is 21. That will immediately endear him to his new teammates. "I don't know a whole lot about him, but I know he's a guy that can hit some home runs," veteran Randy Winn said. "[He's had] some power numbers in the past. Hopefully he can contribute and help the team win." "I don't think that's going to be a problem," Winn said of his newest teammate acclimating to his new surroundings. "Whether you're in Cleveland or San Francisco, once you step in between the lines, the game is the same." No. 3 hitter Pablo Sandoval learned the Giants acquired his newest teammate from a friend at TPX, as both players wear similar batting gloves. Sandoval certainly didn't mind lending him a pair. "I think this is a good chance for us to have a more complete offense," Sandoval said. "[He gives] us more support in the lineup."
Andrew Pentis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.