Garland puts premium on durability

Garland puts premium on durability

LOS ANGELES -- Padres pitcher Jon Garland has been on the disabled list once since the 2000 season, which goes a long way in explaining why he has been in a position to win 10 or more games in each of the past nine seasons.

How has he done it?

"There's some luck," Garland said on Tuesday. "You are basically ruining your body every time you throw a baseball. You're breaking it down more and more. To me, it is only a matter of time before something bad happens to a pitcher."

Garland, who won his 10th game of the season on Sunday, was speaking more about the mechanics of physically throwing a baseball, how it's an unnatural motion and, really, how he's been fortunate to mostly avoid injuries during his career.

Garland, who has 127 victories since 2000 and is tied for 11th in the Major Leagues in starts (310) over that same stretch, said one of the most critical parts of his job to be a durable presence in the rotation.

"I think that's the thing that's gratifying for myself, is that ability to go out there every day, stay healthy and help my team," Garland said. "If you're not out there, you're no good to your team. If I can't pitch every fifth day, then why am I even here?"

San Diego manager Bud Black, who five times during his career made 30 or more starts, appreciates Garland's durability, if for no other reason than it represents an old-school approach to pitching.

"Jon is one of those players that I admire just because he takes the ball every fifth day, makes every side session. He makes every workout, he's extremely consistent," Black said.

"When you have a guy like that where you don't have to dip into the Minor Leagues, you don't have to worry about bringing a guy out of the bullpen to start, the better you are. The more guys you have like Jon Garland, the better you are."