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Matt Garza Added to Fresno Grizzlies Hot Stove Lineup

January 30, 2018 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Fresno Grizzlies News Release

Matt Garza, Brad Mills and Mark Gardner to join Dusty Baker and Chris Devenski at 57th anniversary event this Thursday

FRESNO, Calif. - Additional talent has been announced for the annual Fresno Grizzlies Hot Stove Gala and dinner, the 57th anniversary event, slated for this Thursday, February 1, 2018 at the Fresno Convention Center. (Exhibit Hall III at 700 "M" Street downtown.) Major League veteran player and manager Dusty Baker, the keynote speaker, will be joined by Chris Devenski, a former Fresno Grizzlies right-handed pitcher and 2017 World Series Champion with the Houston Astros.

Current and former MLB players Matt Garza (Fresno), Brad Mills (Exeter) and Mark Gardner (Clovis) have all been added to the evening's lineup, giving the event a strong local flavor. The event will begin at 6 p.m. for the general public (doors at 5:30), and at 5 p.m. for those who have purchased VIP tickets. VIP access includes a private mixer with the talent prior to the dinner and speeches.

Garza, Mills and Gardner will all be available at 4 p.m. to credentialed media along with the previously-announced talent.

Tickets for the event are now on sale by visiting or the ticket office at Chukchansi Park between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Matt Garza is one of the most decorated professional athletes to come from the Central Valley. The Washington Union High School alum was the 25th overall pick in the 2005 draft by the Minnesota Twins following his junior season at Fresno State, making his Major League debut just a season later in 2006. Now a veteran of 12 Major League seasons, Garza has won double-digit games four times, pitching for the Twins (2006-2007), Tampa Bay Rays (2008-2010), Chicago Cubs (2011-2013), Texas Rangers (2013) and Milwaukee Brewers (2014-2017).

In 2008 he fired two complete game shutouts - the only pitcher in the American League to do so - helping lead Tampa Bay to the American League pennant and a World Series appearance. In 2010 with the Rays, he won a career-best 15 games, in a career-high 205 innings. In 2011 with the Cubs, the hard-throwing right-hander struck out a career high 197 batters in 31 starts. Garza posted an ERA under 4.00 in his first eight big league seasons.

Brad Mills was a 17th round draft pick of the Montreal Expos in 1979, and reached the Majors just a year later, playing in four big league seasons total with the Expos. He is well-known as a Major League manager and coach, following his career as a minor league manager in the Chicago Cubs, Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers organizations between 1987 and 2002, following the end of his playing career in 1986. Mills was also Terry Francona's first base coach with the Philadelphia Phillies from 1997 to 2000 and was Montreal's bench coach in 2003, before re-uniting with Francona as a member of the Boston Red Sox coaching staff from 2004 to 2009, where he was part of two World Series-winning clubs.

Mills managed the Houston Astros three seasons, 2010 to 2012, before once again joining Francona as one of the best bench coaches in baseball, this time with the Cleveland Indians since 2012. This past summer, Mills managed the American League All-Star team in lieu of Francona, following the Indians' AL pennant win in 2016.

Mark Gardner played for Fresno City College in 1982 and 1983, before playing his final two collegiate seasons at Fresno State. The Clovis native was drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1985, which would lead to a 13-year playing career in the Major Leagues. The veteran of 345 games and 275 starts won 99 games in the show, playing for the Expos, Royals, and Marlins and pitching his final six MLB seasons with the Giants.

In his final year playing in 2001, he had the opportunity to start three games with the Grizzlies on a rehab assignment, finally playing for his home fans again after 17 professional seasons. Between 1996 and 2000, Gardner had double-digit winning decisions for the Giants four times, with a career-high 13 wins in 1998. In 1984 and 1985, he went a stellar 24-5 in 42 games and 31 starts for Fresno State.

Tickets to the event are on sale for $60 apiece. VIP tickets, which include the 5 p.m. meet and greet with Baker, Devenski and the rest of the talent are $100. Tables of 10 ($600) and VIP tables ($1,000) are also available. Tickets for children 12 and under are $25.

Purchase tickets online. For more information or to RSVP, call Grizzlies Community Fund Director Whitney Campbell at (559) 320-2547. The Hot Stove Gala benefits the Fresno Grizzlies Community Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that manages community programs such as "Wild About Reading," "Farm Grown" and the Junior Grizzlies baseball program. Autograph opportunities and a Q&A with the talent/guests at Hot Stove will also be available to patrons.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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