Padre Profile: Andrew Cashner
When thinking of the simplicity of baseball, it’s hard to imagine something like Petco Park being natural and expected. Think about it: a perfectly combed grass field, etched into the shape of a diamond, with raked dirt and a calm air wafting over and through the blades – a true beauty of nature. Now, just frame that wonderful green citadel with several hundred-thousand pounds of concrete, a bustling downtown metropolis, and millions of people circumventing its streets and sidewalks on a daily basis. Not exactly what you would expect, right?
Now imagine, if you will, the information age we live in now. Information sent in the blink of an eye, communiques exchanged with the slightest of ease, and pictures and videos sent from person to person as a part of a standard daily routine. Not unlike the grass field of Petco Park in Downtown San Diego, you would think that a person who excludes themselves from this era of the smartphone would be a little strange, wouldn’t you?
Enter Andrew Cashner: “To me, any day that someone can get a hold of me on my phone… I’m not doing so well, that’s not a good day.”
The 6-foot 6-inch standing Cashner doesn’t really care much for Facebook, twitter, or any social media really. “I’m pretty anti-social media,” Cashner says. “I don’t really get Twitter… I don’t care much for what other people have to say. Not in a bad way, I just have never really cared for (that sort of thing).”
Instead of twitter handles and hashtags, Cashner would rather focus on duck calls and hunting. “Yeah, I’m hoping to travel a bit more this offseason. I typically stick around Texas… but ya know, I’d like to get out more. Maybe do some more duck hunting and stuff.”
Oh to live the simple and relaxed life of a hard throwing pitcher in Major League baseball.
Andrew Cashner was born in Conroe, Texas – about 40 miles outside of Houston – back in 1986. Not much is known about Cashner’s personal life, as he tends to be more reserved than most players these days. For every player with their own Twitter handle, Andrew Cashner probably has a trophy on his shelf for a deer he’s hunted or a fish he’s caught. What is known about Cashner, however, is that he was a star player in High School who was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 20th round of the 2005 amateur player draft at the age of 18.
Cashner elected to attend junior college, however, where he was again drafted in 2006 (18th round by the Colorado Rockies, did not sign) and 2007 (29th round by the Chicago Cubs, did not sign). Cashner left junior college for Texas Christian University in 2007 and was again drafted – for the fourth time – by the Chicago Cubs in 2008 as the 19th overall pick in the amateur player draft. Cashner had risen to be a first round draft pick, and he certainly had the makings of one too.
“We’re all athletes, man. We all played high school ball… you just try to go out there and do everything you can.” When asked about his superb hitting ability, Cashner showed some modesty and noted how every pitcher on the Padres staff “has it in them to crush the ball… everyone has that athleticism. We just work hard.”
Cashner, as you may remember, ended up in San Diego via a trade with the Chicago Cubs back in January of 2012. Cashner was traded along with minor leaguer Kyung Min-Na in exchange for first baseman Anthony Rizzo and another minor leaguer, Zach Cates. While Min-Na has fallen off the radar, Cashner continues to light it up with fastballs that flirt with triple digit speed and power.
When Cashner started with the Padres in 2012, he mostly pitched in relief, posting a 3-4 record with a 4.27 ERA in 33 games. Following an injury that sidelined him between July and September of that season, The Padres started to tinker with the idea of placing Cashner in the starting role in late April of the 2013 season. Much to the pitching staff and the fan base’s surprise, Cashner was a perfect fit.
In his first season as a consistent starting pitcher (Cashner started 1 game with the Cubs organization in 2011 before being traded), Cashner showed that he had both the ability and endurance to step into that role. Andrew posted a 10-9 record with a 3.09 ERA in 31 games, and earned honors for being the top pitcher in all of MLB in the month of September, going 2-1 with a 0.76 ERA in the last three games of the season.
Cashner even flirted with history, almost pitching the first No-Hitter and Perfect Game in Padres history against the Pittsburgh Pirates on September 16th. Cashner surrendered only one hit, and faced the minimum 27 batters in a complete game shutout with no walks and seven strikeouts. It was the first complete game of his career.
When asked about his success, Cashner didn’t have much to say. “I don’t really think about those things. I mean, it would be nice to be an ace but… I don’t go out there thinking that. This was my first full year of being healthy, and all I want to do is pitch and help the team in any way that I can.”
For those hardcore Cashner fans, some wonder what happened to the camouflage undershirt he used to wear when he pitched. “Yeah, MLB took care of that. I got fined for wearing it after the Yankees series (in August)… so that’s not happening anymore.” When asked if he would try wearing it again, Andrew joked if we were willing to pay for it, sure.
Andrew Cashner is by no means a small man. His large stature and strong physique show that he is more than just a pitcher – he is truly a baseball player and gamer in every sense of the word. The formidable beard that he has grown for himself, along with the unique “Z” shaped scar on his thumb, makes him stand out as a simple country hardball thrower who is here to do one thing, and one thing only. And that’s pitch to win.
Let’s hope it continues into 2014 and beyond.