MATT GARZAunleashed his high-90s fastball on three minor league levels in four months in2006--his first full pro season--and went 14--4 with a 1.99 ERA while strikingout 154 batters in 135 2/3 innings. Then came his first big league start, forthe Twins against the Blue Jays last Aug. 11 in the Metrodome. When his namewas announced over the P.A., Garza says, "The fans blew up the Dome, and Iwas like, Oh, crap, I gotta go now." The 6'4" righty was unable tocontrol his adrenaline, or his curve and slider, and Toronto turned 2 2/3innings of fastballs into seven earned runs. He wound up 3--6 with a 5.76 ERAand admits that fatigue caught up with him. "I had the pedal to the metalall year to get up there; then I ran out of gas," he says.
"He's got tofocus on locating better, getting ahead in the count and using all his pitches,and not on trying to blow people away," says manager Ron Gardenhire. Garza,23, understands that, and he focused his off-season work on refining his fullrepertoire, which includes a change that he can consistently repeat. Animproved arsenal should allow his briefly stalled joyride through pro ball torecommence in the Twin Cities.