August 5, 2005

CURVACEOUS:

Garces eyeing a big comeback (Chris Snow, 8/05/05, Boston Globe)

Goose Gregson, the Gulf Coast Red Sox pitching coach, was somewhere in Florida between Sarasota and Fort Myers yesterday afternoon, talking on his cellphone and apologizing for not being able to hear. The consistent background noise indicated that he was on yet another bus with yet another collection of mostly young men hopeful of someday playing in the big leagues. Gregson, above the din, was talking excitedly about one man in particular, a 34-year-old righthander named Rich Garces.

How does El Guapo look?

''Man," Gregson said. ''If it was raining, he'd have to run around to get wet."

Gregson laughed, acknowledged he was joking, and, when pressed, swore he does not know how much the rotund righthander weighs.

''He's still got a couple of pounds to shed," Gregson said. ''But I'll tell you what, I'm pulling very, very hard for this guy. He's worked hard to get back here."

Almost three years to the day (Aug. 7, 2002) since the Sox released Garces, the beloved pitcher is staging a comeback. Don't break out those Guapo T-shirts yet -- Garces hasn't pitched in the United States since 2002, and has made only two Gulf Coast League appearances -- but he's determined to make one last run at reviving his big-league career. [...]

Garces, who pitched in Boston between 1996 and 2002 and was listed at 6 feet 250 pounds in the 2002 Red Sox media guide, told the Fort Myers News-Press yesterday that he weighs 10 pounds more than he did when he last pitched in the big leagues. So, it's reasonable to assume that Guapo is tipping the scales at 260 pounds-plus.

''But the man knows how to pitch," Gregson said. ''The bottom line, when a guy can pitch, not much is said about his weight. He knows how to get hitters out."


The sun never sets on el Guapo.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 5, 2005 8:33 AM
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