Wednesday, December 9, 2020

PhoulBallz Interview: LHP Garrett Cleavinger talks about his 2020, big league call up, more

Cleavinger, image- Jay Floyd

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Lefty reliever Garrett Cleavinger made his big league debut with the Phillies this year and hopes to continue his career as a big league contributor in the coming seasons.  

Cleavinger, a third round draft pick of the Orioles in 2015, was acquired by the Phillies in 2017 in a swap for pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.  

In his more than five professional seasons, the Oregon product sports a 19-12 record, a 4.08 ERA, a .217 batting average against and a 12.0 K/9 mark in 140 minor league appearances.  

This year in his lone big league outing, the 26-year-old tossed 2/3 inning, surrendered an earned run and struck out one batter. 

Recently, I talked with Garrett to get his insight on his promotion to the Phils, what he'll be working on this off-season, which team staffer has helped him the most in his career and much more.  Read ahead for that complete interview...

-So can you share some thoughts on your call up to join the big league roster this year?

The call up was pretty unique this year just with the COVID restrictions and like family and friends couldn’t be there so it was kind of weird for sure.

-Inclusion in the taxi squad group...to that point, did the call to be included there kind of have the feeling of a promotion or call up?

The taxi squad was fun, we had a good group of guys that made it competitive everyday. I kind of knew I was going to be on the taxi squad because I was added to the 40 man roster.

-Who has been a big help to you in the Phillies organization, in relation to coaches or teammates? 

Aaron Fultz has probably been the biggest help to me.  I’ve been lucky to be around him for parts of three seasons and he’s someone who I really like being around. He was the one who introduced a slider to my pitch repertoire and so now it’s fastball, curveball, slider and a little of a change up.

-In those taxi squad games, did you get to face any of the coaches that filled in? What was that like? 

I never had any coaches hit off me in the taxi squad games but they played the field behind me quite a bit and it was a lot of fun! So many of those guys played at the highest level and so it’s fun for them to get out there again and fun for us to play with them.

-Any big plans for the off-season? 

Biggest goal for the off-season is to get strong and be in the best shape possible for spring so I can win a job in the bullpen.

-How has your family done with the pandemic? Fortunate enough to remain healthy and employed?

Family has been doing well, safe and healthy.

-A couple people commented on the recent Instagram post of you I had, saying you resemble pro wrestler and MMA fighter Jake Hager. Do you know who that is and have you heard that before?

I haven’t heard of that comparison before.

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