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Former team just another opponent for ex-Twin, current Tampa Bay Ray Matt Garza

ST. PETERSBURG — Right-hander Matt Garza, an ex-Twin, may be facing his former team for the first time today, but the start doesn't appear to hold any extra special meaning for him.

"It's over and done with," Garza said. "I was a Twin two years ago. I'm a Ray now, and I'm more about the here and now. I have bigger things to worry about, my mentality, how I'm going to approach this outing."

Garza, 25, was acquired in November 2007 from the Twins with shortstop Jason Bartlett in a six-player trade that included outfielder Delmon Young. He was drafted by the Twins in the first round in 2005, 25th overall.

"Yeah it's the Twins, I came from there, blah, blah, blah," Garza said. "I have a bunch of friends over there. Yeah, we're friends, but when we cross those lines … I'm sure they're not going to let a strike three go by, like I'm not going to groove a fastball. It's just the way it goes."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he was glad he didn't have to face the hot-hitting Bartlett (who is on the disabled list).

"I know (Bartlett) is hurt now so I don't have to watch him kill us," he said. "I have a lot of respect for him. … He took on that leadership role I asked him to do and he just ran with it. He's one of the better shortstops in the game. Unfortunately, he's not playing with us. But that's part of the baseball world."

As for Garza, Gardenhire was also impressed.

Garza "has a great arm; he's definitely one of those No. 1-type starters," Gardenhire said. "The only way to go after a big right-handed bat like Delmon (was to give up Garza). If we could have gone another route, we probably would have tried."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

Former team just another opponent for ex-Twin, current Tampa Bay Ray Matt Garza 05/30/09 [Last modified: Sunday, May 31, 2009 8:00am]
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