None of the other fourth and fifth starter candidates carries Garcia’s combination of a big league track record with success last season. Garcia had a lot more good outings than bad last season with Chicago, and the Yankees have seen that he can still get big league hitters out.
“If I lose the spot, that’s my fault,” Garcia said. “That’s my responsibility.”
Garcia pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut this afternoon. He was followed by Ivan Nova — the other rotation favorite — who pitched three scoreless. Tomorrow the Yankees will see Bartolo Colon go three innings, but it’s been a year and a half since Colon pitched in the big leagues.
Of the two veterans on minor league contracts, Garcia’s recent success gives him the upper hand.
“I think we have a better idea of what he can do,” Joe Girardi said. “Colon is kind of a mystery to all of us because we didn’t see him throw last year. So it’s something that we’ll watch… but we know Freddy a lot better.”
Garcia threw almost all fastballs today. He said he threw one changeup, one slider and three split fingers (his strikeout against Evan Longoria came on a split).
“Right now I feel pretty good,” he said. “I’m in good shape. My arm feels great. That’s the difference from last year and this point in spring training. I couldn’t even half throw like this (last year). It’s just different.”
Here’s Garcia after his outing.
Associated Press photo of Garcia