Chiefs' Mock goes the distance
Right-hander tosses first complete game since 2004
Garrett Mock isn't picky about how he gets back to the Major Leagues.
"I'll be a starter, a reliever or a pine-tar boy," the 26-year-old right-hander said Monday, moments after firing a three-hit shutout for his first complete game in nearly five years in the Syracuse Chiefs' 3-0 victory over the Columbus Clippers at Huntington Park.
Mock (2-1), who was demoted to Syracuse after 13 relief appearances with the Nationals earlier this year, has been pitching effectively as a starter with the Chiefs. But the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Houston native is willing to fill virtually any role in a Washington uniform.
"I'd like to get back to the Major Leagues," said Mock, who got his first taste of big league action with 26 outings -- including three starts -- for the Nationals last season.
"I don't think I'm in a position where I can dictate what I can do. I've said on a couple of occasions that I'm blessed to have the job I have."
On Monday night, Mock looked very comfortable on the hill, facing the minimum through 7 1/3 frames on only one hit before Jordan Brown singled with one out in the eighth. Mock got Wyatt Toregas to ground into an inning-ending double play before working around a one-out single in the ninth.
"I felt like I threw all my pitches well," Mock said. "The thing that helped me the most was my catcher [Jhonatan Solano] and my defense. We worked well together. He was blocking balls and he worked his tail off. Our defense had perfect execution on everything. When you add that all up, I just had to go out there and attack guys."
The former third-round pick struck out Andy Cannizaro with his 96th and final pitch -- 70 of which went for strikes -- to cap his first complete-game effort since tossing a nine-hitter for Class A South Bend on Aug. 17, 2004.
"My first one was not too long after I signed," said Mock, who was originally selected by Arizona in the 2004 Draft. "Five years is kind of a long time."
It would have been longer if Mock, who hadn't gone more than six innings in any of his previous four starts this season, didn't get the chance to pitch the ninth.
"That's the manager's decision," Mock said of Syracuse skipper and former Major Leaguer Tim Foli. "He didn't talk to me too much past the sixth inning . He was gonna let me go as long as I kept going after hitters. I was really happy he let me have an opportunity to go back out there."
Mock has allowed one earned run or fewer in three of his last four starts, but has been especially sharp in his last two outings, yielding one run on five hits over 15 innings.
Though he's clearly finding a comfort zone as a starter, Mock reiterated that he isn't locked into the role if Washington comes calling.
"Whatever the team asks me to do, I'm going to do," he said.
John Torenli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.