This will be a different sort of spring for Freddy Garcia. He established himself as a Major League pitcher way back in 1999, and he hasn’t fought for a job like this ever since.
“I don’t really think of it before like you have to pitch good (in spring training),” he said. “If you don’t pitch good in the regular season, that’s when you have a problem. I think spring training, you get your job done… In the past, I don’t really concentrate in spring training games, but this year I have to be different.”
Joe Girardi actually laughed when he was asked this afternoon about Garcia’s track record in spring training. “We’re well aware of that,” Girardi said.
Take last spring for example. Pitching for the White Sox, Garcia put this line: 21.2 IP, 40 H, 26 R, 25 ER, 4 BB, 13 K, 10.38 ERA. Yikes.
Girardi said the Yankees will “factor that in,” and go into spring training knowing Garcia isn’t always at his best in March. Then again, “these spots are going to have to be earned,” Girardi said.
It’s one of the tricky things about making this sort of decision in spring training: The games don’t matter and results can be misleading. The Yankees are going to have to go on more than simply who’s able to get outs.
Even with his back spring track record, does Garcia expect to be able to win a spot this spring?
“That’s why I’m here,” he said. “If you don’t think that way, don’t be here. If you come here and sign this deal, it’s because I’m really feeling good about it. That’s why I’m here.”
Here’s part of the Garcia interview. I had to leave the session for a little bit to talk to Brian Cashman, but the nuts and bolts are here.
Associated Press photo with Garcia in the middle