Thursday, April 14, 2011

Yankees Garcia Slated to Start Saturday; Forecast: More Rain

New York Yankees fifth-starter Freddy Garcia is still awaiting his first start of the regular season after being bumped from his two previous attempts due to weather.  It will be 18 days between his last start in spring training and his first regular season start on Saturday against the Texas Rangers.  The forecast: rain.

Garcia's new nickname should be Dopler.  So far this season, his slated starts are more likely to be called for rain than by any weatherman at National Weather Service--at least he's been more reliable.

Garcia's last scheduled start was pushed back again after Tuesday night's rainout at Yankee Stadium against the Minnesota Twins.  After a bumpy spring training, Garcia is anxious to get on the mound.  The gap between his last start and this Saturday's is the longest of his career.

"I've just got to pitch, that's it, " said Garcia. "I don't really know what to say."

Garcia earned the fifth spot in the starting line-up after an up-and-down spring training, but he is far from a lock to stay there, even if the bottom of the five-man rotation is looking a little stormy.

The 34 year-old Garcia's first start as a Yankee now carries a lot more significance than at the beginning of the season.  CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett are the only starters making any thunder so far this season.  Slow starts by Phil Hughes, whose fastball looks more like fog than lightning, and the No. 4 starter Ivan Nova, who is still getting his feet wet have raised some concerns with the team.

If you believe Garcia, the early season layoff shouldn't affect his rhythm.

"I don't think so, I'm too old for that," the righthander joked.  "I've got to go out there and pitch, that's all I can do, and win.  If I don't have the rhythm, I don't have it, but I don't see a problem.  I've got to go out and make my pitch, that's it."

Garcia did throw one inning of relief against the Boston Red Sox last week, giving up one hit and one run, but says he has been keeping in shape by throwing bullpen sessions while waiting to get an actual start.

"Working out, man, throwing bullpen, doing my stuff," He said.  That's all I can do.  That's all I can control.  [I've been throwing] a lot, 40 [pitches], 50 , whatever I need.  That's it, throw in the bullpen and [make] it like a game, two or three innings."

The Yankees signed Garcia to a minor league deal for $1.5 million.  The veteran hurler won the fifth spot over Bartolo Colon and doesn't think pitching only one real inning in over two weeks can stop him on the mound.

The Weather Channel says:  Avoid plans for the outdoors on Saturday; Freddy Garcia is slated to start.

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