Freddy Garcia earned the fifth spot in the Yankees rotation in spring training, but he’s far from a lock to stay there.
The 34-year-old makes his Yankees debut tonight against the Twins after going 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA over 181/3 spring innings. The right-hander led the team with 15 strikeouts down in Florida.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Garcia said before last night’s late game. “It’s another game, another start in my career and hopefully I’ll get off on the right foot and pitch the way I’m capable of pitching.”
He’s capable of 15 wins — his career average — but nagging shoulder problems have bounced him around to five different teams in four years. He went 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA last year with the White Sox, his first healthy season since winning 17 games in 2006.
Fellow newcomer Bartolo Colon actually outpitched him this spring, but manager Joe Girardi still awarded a trimmed-down Garcia the final spot and sent Colon to the bullpen.
“I didn’t have any job after the season was over and I didn’t want to go any place where the team is in last place,” Garcia said of signing his minor-league deal. “I want to be on a good team. I want to win so this is the right place.”
New York ended up being the wrong place two years ago when the Mets cut Garcia after just two minor-league starts.