Rangers' players thrilled with Garza deal

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers' newest pitcher, Matt Garza, received rave reviews from his soon-to-be teammates after Monday's 3-0 victory over the New York Yankees.

Some of them have played with him before, such as utilityman Jeff Baker, Garza's teammate with the Chicago Cubs in 2011 and '12.

So they know exactly what kind of pitcher the Rangers acquired in a deal Monday that sent pitcher Justin Grimm and prospects Mike Olt and C.J. Edwards and a player or two to be named later to the Cubs.

"For him, every game he pitches is Game 7," Baker said. "He's super competitive. When you're playing behind and he's on your team, you love that. Another plus is he's done it in the AL East, and he's done it in the playoffs, and everyone in this room plans on playing in October. So he's a huge pickup."

Closer Joe Nathan, a teammate in Minnesota in 2006-07 before Garza was traded to Tampa Bay, said the 29-year old Garza, who is 6-1 with a 3.17 ERA this season, has only gotten better since he broke in with the Twins.

"I know how good he is," Nathan said. "I know how good his stuff is. I know he's gotten even better since I've seen him. His work ethic is off the charts. Another guy that is a front-line starter, big time competitor, loves to win, loves to compete."

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Monday after the trade was announced that Garza will give the club a different look in the rotation.

Ace Yu Darvish throws a 95 mph fastball, but relies heavily on breaking pitches. Garza is a pure power pitcher. He has 62 strikeouts in 71 innings this season.

"His whole career he's been a power pitcher," said catcher Geovany Soto, a teammate of Garza's in Chicago for part of 2011 before being traded to the Rangers. "He's had a brilliant career. He's going to help us a lot. The young guys can pick his brain. He's going to energize that rotation and it's going to be fun to see him in a Rangers uniform."

All of Garza's ex-teammates agreed he will bring energy and competitive spirit to the Rangers' clubhouse. Garza also is known as a talker.

"He's one of the most competitive people I've played with and he busts his tail between starts every five days," Baker said. "He brings a lot of energy when he's not pitching. He's not exactly quiet. He's outgoing. He brings a vibe and an energy to the dugout even when he's not pitching."

The Rangers that haven't played with Garza, but have faced him in the playoffs, know about his toughness. Garza pitched well in getting a no decision for Tampa Bay against Texas in the 2010 American League Division Series.

They also know that the Rangers were able to beat Tampa Bay in five games and win their first playoff series and eventually get to their first World Series because of the top pitcher the front office traded for in July of 2010 -- Cliff Lee.

"It's huge," Cruz said. "The last few years when we get pitchers like him, we go to the World Series. So that's good news. Hopefully we can put some runs on the board."