Braves bring up Rhea's Gearrin

Braves bring up Rhea's Gearrin

April 23rd, 2011 by Ward Gossett in Sports - Preps

Cory Gearrin's cell phone rang Thursday night, but it was a number he didn't recognize and he almost didn't answer.

He did, though, after a moment's pause, and the call resulted in a Friday morning flight to San Francisco to join the Atlanta Braves' bullpen.

The call came from Braves general manager Frank Wren.

"Cory said he had never talked to the guy, but he was asking Cory if he liked sushi and then about different restaurants," Tim Gearrin, Cory's father, said Friday. "Cory told me he was wondering where the conversation was going."

Wren then asked the Rhea County High School graduate how his arm was and if he could pitch the next day in Class AAA.

"Cory told him he had pitched 2 2/3 innings [Thursday] but, yes, he would be able to go on Friday. Wren then asked him if he thought he could go in major league ball," Tim related.

The end result was Gearrin catching a flight early Friday from Norfolk, Va., where he and the Gwinnett Braves had played Thursday, to San Francisco.

"They asked him if he had a suit and tie, and when he said no," Tim said, "they sent him out to buy one [Thursday] night, telling him big-leaguers traveled in suits and ties."

According to his father, the 25-year-old Gearrin was prepared to make his big-league debut Friday night against the world champion Giants.

"I'm still looking for [airline] tickets to get out there," said Tim, a teacher and coach at Cleveland High School. "I am thrilled for Cory, but [not being there] is killing me. His mother [Gery] is on the way and so is his uncle [Pat], who's a pilot and can get tickets most any time."

It was unclear where Gearrin was promoted specifically because right-handed reliever Peter Moylan had gone on the disabled list or whether it was because of concerns about lefty Jonny Venter, who got up Thursday and started to get loose and then suddenly sat back down.

"He doesn't know how long he's going to be [with the big-league team] or why they called him up. He's just excited that he's going," Wes Caldwell, Gearrin's coach at Rhea County, said following a late Thursday conversation with the young right-hander.

"The way I understand it, he's very similar to Moylan and the Braves think he's very capable of and the best candidate for filling Moylan's role," Caldwell added.

Gearrin is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound sidearm-throwing groundball specialist. He pitched for Young Harris and Mercer in college, becoming a closer.

After Thursday's appearance, his sixth of the season for Gwinnett, he had a 1-1 record with a 2.61 ERA in 10 innings. He pitched 80 innings in a team-high 52 appearances in 2010 and went 3-5 with a 3.36 ERA.

To make room on the roster, the Braves optioned outfielder Matt Young to Gwinnett. Young was Gearrin's roommate during spring training.