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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Mike Gardiner, Felt Capable - 7

Originally published Dec. 24, 2014
Mike Gardiner's job was to pitch and he believed he deserved a job in the majors, he told The Associated Press in March 1992.

He was doing his best that spring to make his case for a starting rotation spot with the Red Sox.

"My job is to put as much pressure on them as possible," Gardiner told The AP. "I'm not going to say that I'm in there, but I think I've got a good chance. I feel capable of being there."

Gardiner was coming off a season where he started 22 games for Boston, going 9-10. He would rejoin the RedSox rotation for 1992, but his record came in at just 4-10. He went on to play in three more seasons, but that was his last in a starting rotation.

Gardiner's career began in 1987, taken by the Mariners in the 18th round of the draft out of Indiana State University. He went to Indiana State out of high school in Sarnia, Ont.

Gardiner turned pro three years after he played for Team Canada in the 1984 Olympics.

With the Mariners, Gardiner started at short-season Bellingham and single-A Wausau. He made AA Williamsport in 1989. In 30 outings, three starts there, Gardiner turned in a 2.84 ERA.

He returned to AA in 1990 and had an even better year, going 12-8 as a starter, with a 1.90 ERA.

"He has great movement, great location, a great breaking ball and a good changeup," Albany-Colonie manager Dan Radison told The Schenectady Gazette after an August loss to Gardiner. "He kept us off-balance."

Gardiner pitched so well that year that he got called up to Seattle for his major league debut. In five outings, three starts, he had a 10.55 ERA.

Before the 1991 season, the Mariners traded Gardiner to the Red Sox. Gardiner got 22 starts and that 9-10 record. He had a 4.85 ERA.

Two of his 1991 wins were against his old team. In 1992, his third win also came against that team, the Mariners.

"I'm just happy to be on the right end of the final score," Gardiner told reporters afterward. "It was just one of those nights I was ahead of hitters a lot. I was around the plate with just about everything."

Gardiner moved to the Expos and then Tigers in 1993. He got 34 outings between them, with a 4.93 ERA.

He then got 38 outings for the Tigers in 1994 and nine final outings for the club in 1995, ending his major league career. He then continued in the minors through 1998, ending his career.

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