High School Sports

Baseball | Lakewood Ranch's Seth McGarry signs with Pirates, will report to Pirate City

The last few days have been a throwback for Seth McGarry, even as the right-handed pitcher has begun the next step of his baseball career.

The Lakewood Ranch alumnus heard his named called as an eighth-round pick in the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft from an old pitching coach's home in Bradenton. Moments after the Pittsburgh Pirates chose him, he got a call telling him he would be moving back into a starting role for the first time since his freshman year at FAU. And on Monday, he will begin his professional career at Pirate City in extended spring training.

"They've been stressful," McGarry said of recent days during a phone call from Pittsburgh on Friday, "but it's been a fun experience."

The day after he was drafted and agreed on a contract, McGarry was told he'd have to go to Pirate City for a physical. Ten minutes later, he got a change of plans. He had a Thursday flight to Pittsburgh for a physical there.

On Friday, the Pirates announced the signing and McGarry was at PNC Park to see the Pirates play the Philadelphia Phillies. Next week, McGarry will officially begin his professional career in Bradenton.

"I'm going to try and stretch out my pitch count," McGarry said. "I like coming out of the pen, but I'll do anything right now."

He'll finish out spring training and then continue with the Gulf Coast League Pirates, who also play at Pirate City. McGarry only started three games during his career with the Owls before a stress fracture forced him into the bullpen for his sophomore season. He entered his junior year with only 20 1/3 innings of experience and, still, he became one of FAU's top relievers, posting a 2.25 ERA in 40 innings.

The next step for McGarry once he is stretched out to starter length would probably be Class A short season Jamestown in New York. The Marauders, Pittsburgh's high Single-A affiliate, are two levels ahead of the Jammers.

For now, though, his pro career will start at home.

"It's extremely exciting," McGarry said. "I couldn't be happier to start my career, especially being right in my backyard.