San Francisco Giants invite ex-Brave Cory Gearrin to camp


This is the eighth in a series of articles, here at Around the Foghorn, covering the 22 non-roster invitees joining the San Francisco Giants in their spring training complex this season.

If the name Cory Gearrin sounds vaguely familiar to fans of the San Francisco Giants, it may be because the righty was one of twenty-nine Major League Baseball players who underwent Tommy John surgery in calendar year 2014. Having successfully recovered he is back in baseball, albeit not with the Atlanta Braves any longer, but rather, with the Giants. He arrived with the rest of the pitchers and catchers as one of twenty-two non-roster invitees to participate in spring training.

It was only last March that the Braves announced that Gearrin, along with fellow Braves Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy (second TJS) would require the surgery. The Braves subsequently released Gearrin in November, and he was signed by San Francisco in early December.

Unlike many of the non-roster prospects in camp for spring training, Gearrin is not a starry-eyed youngster, yearning for his first taste of the show. Gearrin has been there and done that; he wants nothing more now than to earn another chance, especially since he has at least one friend already on the Giants in the person of Tim Hudson, formerly of the Braves.

Tim Hudson was a member of the Braves for the three seasons that Cory Gearrin pitched for the club.Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey- USA TODAY Sports

Gearrin made his major league debut in 2011, and zig-zagged back and forth from Triple-A Gwinnett and the parent club in 2012, before establishing himself as a key component of the Braves’ bullpen in 2013. Here is a glimpse of his MLB stats from 2011 onward:

2011: 18 G/0 GS/W/L: 1-1/7.85 ERA/18.1 IP/17 H/16 ER/0 HR/12 BB/25 SO/0 SV/3 HLD/WHIP 1.58 Interesting to note that in 2011, Gearrin gave up sixteen earned runs in 18.1 innings, without surrendering a home run.

2012: 22 G/0 GS/W/L: 0-1/1.80 ERA/20.0 IP/17 H/4 ER/1 HR/5 BB/20 SO/0 SV/4 HLD/WHIP 1.10 Note that he gave up the same number of base hits as in 2011, but only 4 earned runs. Also note his 5-20 BB/SO.

2013: 37 G/0 GS/W/L: 2-1/3.77 ERA/31.0 IP/30 H/13 ER/2 HR/16 BB/23 SO/1 SV/1 HLD/WHIP 1.48 Note the 16 BB to 23 SO ratio.

2013 started off well for the Rhea County High School product as he recorded a 1.46 ERA in April and a 2.13 ERA in May, but things got nasty in June as he appeared in six games, but had an ERA of 10.80. When he gave up still two more runs on July 3rd, he was optioned back down to Gwinnett for the first time in 2013.

After reporting for spring training in March of 2014, Gearrin reported discomfort in his throwing shoulder, and had tests done which revealed the injury requiring surgery. Though an unprecedented number of players went down this season, historically, many players have come back from Tommy John Surgery to successfully pursue their careers.

The notion that Cory Gearrin’s downhill slide in the second half of 2013, might tie into his needing surgery soon afterwards, bears thought, does it not?

It is not surprising that the Giants would have scouted the relief specialist thoroughly, and when they liked what they saw, were willing to give him a chance.

Gearrin has experience and he is from the South as so many of the Giants players are, so he would seem to fit right in. As we have been seeing, there are many of the non-roster pitchers who originated with other clubs than the Giants (Curtis Partch-Cincinnati Reds, Nik Turley-New York Yankees, Juan Gutierrez-Astros/Angels/D-Backs) so they bring with them many new perspectives that could benefit any of the players in camp.

These benefits could range from picking up a new pitch the way Madison Bumgarner did, when he learned his cutter from Horatio Ramirez, to having Dave Righetti notice a mechanical wrinkle, that could be ironed out while in camp.

Cory Gearrin is going to be 29 this year and has been in professional ball since 2007. He is getting another chance after rehabbing from surgery, to pull magic out of his hat and dazzle the Giants’ brain-trust with some National League pitching.

San Francisco is going to need plenty of pitching to keep pace with their SoCal brethren in the NL West, and Gearrin represents yet another option that could fit into the Giants‘ plans.