TAMPA, Fla. – Catcher Santiago Garavito has taught young pitchers valuable lessons on the University of Tampa Spartans – that baseball is a tough game and there are strategies to help handle the pressure.
With three freshman pitchers on the team, Garavito has not only created a positive pitcher-catcher relationship with his teammates, but also helped with the mental side of the game.
“It’s all about short memory” he said. “If a pitcher makes a mistake, or if I make a mistake, at the end of the day we’re just trying to help each other and just trying to bounce back from that one mistake.”
Garavito, in his first year at UT since transferring from Santa Fe (Fla.) College, had to develop his short-term memory through a lot of time and experience. He admits, though, that there were a lot of tough times along with good times.
The Plantation, Fla., native values the process of getting to know his pitchers. He aims to model his pitcher-catcher connection from St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and pitcher Adam Wainwright.
University of Tampa head coach Joe Urso recognizes how crucial the relationship is. He says his mature catcher does it well.
“The battery of a pitcher and catcher is very important,” said the veteran leader. “That’s the No. 1 responsibility of a catcher, to handle that pitcher.”
He has taken on the role of a mentor.
“As a senior it’s definitely a job for upperclassmen to mentor those little guys and help them along the way and calm them down,” he said. “ ‘It’s OK to mess up. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.’”