When he signed back in December, Freddy Garcia fit easily into the back of the Yankees thin rotation. By the time he took the mound this afternoon, Garcia’s situation had changed completely. Despite coming off a strong season, Garcia has to win his job back. He’s 35 years old and he’s never been a reliever in his career, but it’s suddenly a very real possibility.
But Garcia said he has no regrets about re-signing early this offseason.
“I came here last year and I like it here,” he said. “I do like it here. Like I say, I have to pitch good to deserve the spot. I’m not taking anything for granted. I’ve got to go out there and pitch. That’s the way it is.”
Today was hit-and-miss for Garcia, but he was able to joke about how hard Hunter Pence hit that first-inning home run — “If there’s no wind, that ball lands in the (car) dealership,” he said — and he seemed at ease with both his outing and his situation.
“The good thing, I was throwing strikes,” he said. “For me that’s the more important thing, throw strikes. I’ll try to pitch better next time… Too many starters is always good to have many arms on the team, because spring training or whatever, always something happens. So everybody will be ready for whatever happens.”
Garcia has historically struggled in spring training, and Joe Girardi said he’s not using spring results to truly evaluate the veteran. Last season’s success seems to carry more weight.
“That’s what’s freshest in our mind,” Girardi said. “You expect a guy to go out and compete like he did last year. He did a good job. He seemed to really take it up a level when runners got on, where he didn’t panic, and he knew how to make pitches and relax in those situations.”
• Girardi’s take on Garcia’s outing: “He looked alright, and I thought he looked better the second inning. I thought he was sharper the second inning. To me, that’s positive. First time out there, but I thought he made some really good pitches in the second inning.”
• Girardi on how much of a workload he’ll give Alex Rodriguez in spring training: “I think you try to get guys 50 to 60 at-bats. The first week of Spring Training, I usually play these guys about every other day and try to get them about three at-bats in a game. If you’re in the seventh or eighth inning and you’re only getting your third at-bat, you’re probably only getting about two that day.”
• Larry Rothschild pretty much handles the pitchers schedules on his own, and it was actually Mariano Rivera himself who told Girardi that he’s throwing to hitters tomorrow. Girardi said Rivera could be in a game by next weekend. “When he tells me he’s ready, I’m going to put him in,” Girardi said.
• After his big game yesterday, add Cole Garner to the injured list. He has a sore hamstring. “He’s kind of day to day,” Girardi said. “I won’t play him tomorrow and then we’ll re-evaluate him after Monday.”
• As for pitching… I thought D.J. Mitchell looked pretty good, especially in his first inning. He picked up the win. Boone Logan had two strikeouts in a scoreless inning, and Cory Wade allowed one run in his inning. Clay Rapada also had two strikeouts in an inning.
• David Aardsma said this morning that his Tommy John rehab has not changed since signing with the Yankees, and the team still hasn’t talked to him about a timetable for his return. The Yankees were following his progress all winter, so they were well aware of his rehab progress when they signed him. His only changes have been minor tweaks to fit into the spring training routine. He’s still throwing at 90 feet.
• Rule 5 pick Brad Meyers said he’s actually been throwing early bullpens for a while now, he’s just never been listed until today. The Yankees have told him to stay patient and make sure he’s healthy, but obviously they have to make a decision on him sooner rather than later. His window to make an impression on this organization is growing pretty small.
• Michael Pineda makes his Grapefruit League debut tomorrow. “He’s really relaxed, what I see so far,” Garcia said. “He’s confident. That’s real important. If you play in New York, you have to be confident and go out there and show people you can play there.”
Associated Press photos