SAN DIEGO – Cory Gearrin made his major league debut Monday night seem easier than his next-day work on Twitter.
The Braves’ rookie reliever retired all six batters he faced and recorded two strikeouts during the ninth and 10th innings of Monday’s 5-3, 13-inning loss against the Padres.
“That was nice to see,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said of right-handed sidearmer’s debut, three days after Gearrin arrived from Triple-A Gwinnett. “That was a tough way to crack your first major league game. He did great. Didn’t walk a guy.”
Gearrin wasn’t quite as efficient trying to work through all the Twitter-follower messages he received in the hours after the game.
Gearrin, 25, had asked injured Braves reliever Peter Moylan, who’s wildly popular on the Twitter social-networking service, to spread the word and help get Gearrin (@CoryGearrin) more Twitter followers.
The result of Moylan’s “tweet” and a two-inning televised major league debut was more than 1,000 new followers on Twitter for Gearrin, and the genial Tennessee native wanted to thank each and every one of them.
“I checked my Twitter account and it was, like, hundreds of [new-follower] messages,” Gearrin said. “I was, like, that is so cool.”
“I started texting people to thank them. The hotel charges for Internet, so I’d been holding out. I was, like, I can’t pay $10 for Internet. So I was trying to do it with my phone, until finally I just broke down. I was, like, I can’t do all these [with my phone].
“So I went ahead and bought some Internet and tried to thank everybody. So it’s been fun.”
After Gearrin was told last Thursday night that he’d been called up to the big club, his mother and sister scrambled to book a flight to San Francisco for the weekend series against the Giants. They didn’t get to see him pitch there, and returned to Tennessee before the Braves continued their three-city, 10-game trip in San Diego.
“They had to leave before the third game [Sunday in San Francisco],” Gearrin said. “I honestly didn’t know when or if I was going to be able to pitch on this trip, so asking them to, ‘Hey, just hang around San Francisco and San Diego for a week’ … I mean, they wished they could be out here, but it’s understandable.
“And they got to watch it on TV and DVR’d it and everything.”
Gearrin was born and raised in Dayton, Tenn., and his mom lives in Chattanooga. His father, a high school teacher-coach and umpire in Cleveland, Tenn., plans to bring a group of coaches to a game in Atlanta during the homestand that starts Friday, provided Gearrin gets to stay with the team.
The Braves brought him up because they needed an extra arm in a worn bullpen. They have 13 pitches now, but plan to revert to 12 after the road trip. They are expected to bring up another outfielder who can back up center field, from a group of Triple-A candidates that includes Jordan Schafer, Joe Mather, Wilkin Ramirez and Jose Constanza.
With the way that Gearrin pitched Monday, it’s not a given that he’ll be the pitcher dropped when they cut back to 12. And even if he is, there’s little doubt that Gearrin would be back at some point relatively soon.
“It was great,” he said of his debut, when he showed no signs of nervousness. “I don’t know, it just felt good. I went out and I was relaxed. It’s something I’ve been working towards a long time, and to finally be there is what I’ve been wanting all along.
“It’s just one of those things, people ask you, ‘Are you going to be nervous? Are you going to be this or that? I’m like, I don’t know, we’ll see when I get out there. It was just great being able to be out there with that team and those guys. And I’ve thrown to [catcher] Brian [McCann] before, so I was comfortable there. It just felt great.”
McCann gets a rest
McCann was out of the starting lineup Tuesday for the second time in three games, but his absence was understandable after he’d caught all 13 innings in Mondays’ series opener.
“The plan was to [rest him in Wednesday’s series finale],” Gonzalez said. “But I think today would be better – 13 innings, and I think he’s gotten beat up a little bit, too, a couple of foul tips got him yesterday,”
Gonzalez smiled and said, “The way things are going, it might not even be a whole game. He might rest about six innings and then get him in there [in a double-switch]. Hopefully we score some runs.”
The Braves hit just .195 in their past six games before Tuesday, including two losses against the Dodgers, three wins against the Giants, and Monday’s loss to the Padres.