Drafted in the 29th round in 2009 out of high school in Oklahoma, Garen spent the 2011 season at Greeneville. His .253/.309/.356/.665 batting line shows steady progress over his first two seasons in the system. He batted .275 with runners on and .286 with runners in scoring position.
I caught up with a very busy "G" as everyone calls him to ask him about his off-season in Oklahoma City. After following him on twitter for a while, I wanted to know more about what he was doing. It turns out that he is doing a lot!
"(R)ight now I'm a teachers assistant up at my old high school basically helping a student with disabilities with his work and stuff at school.. I'm also doing a lot with the special education kids at the school as well.. I'm also working with a lot of kids in both baseball and basketball to work on their skills, doing camps and stuff like that.. When I first got home, I was umpiring a lot to stay busy [for a high school fall league], and just because I enjoy being around the game.. And of course I'm doing my workouts and doing my hitting and stuff everyday.."
In a follow-up, G told me that he works with kids from kindergarten age to college age in his baseball and basketball clinics. And when I asked him about working with special needs children, he had this to say:
"The thing I love about working with these kids is that these kids are always smiling and having a good time, even through all the pain & their disabilities.. Really makes me count my blessings and really makes me change how I think about life, especially during hard times.."
I also asked G how he feels about having his birthday on Christmas. Despite having to wait "allllll year long" to get his presents, he knows that "Christmas is about way more than presents.. And for the most part, I enjoy it..!"
Once the baseball season starts, I'll try to catch up with G again and ask him some baseball-related questions. But I thought that his work with kids and his impact on their lives was more important today of all days.
G working with CJ
1B Mario Gonzalez (20)
A non-drafted free agent signed by the Astros out of Panama in 2009, Gonzalez has played three seasons with the DSL Astros. His has a .273/.443/.398/.841 batting line. His batting average was .347 Post All-Star, .315 with runners on and .313 with runners in scoring position.
Former Astros with birthdays today
2B Nellie Fox (died December 1, 1975 at 47)
Played in 154 games for Houston in 1964 & 1965 at the end of his career
Voted into the HOF by the Veterans Committee in 1997
IF Julio Gonzalez (59)
Played for Houston from 1977 to 1980
OF Ty Gainey (51)
Played in 57 games for Houston in 1985 to 1987
CF Willy Tavares (30)
Played for Houston from 2004 to 2006
Placed 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting in 2005
Batted .284 for Houston