Before 2009: Garcia was picked in the third round of the 2004 draft by the Yankees, and was sent to their Gulf Coast League affiliate following his selection. Fast tracked to Low-A Charleston for the 2005 season, Garcia suffered an elbow strain that would be the first of many injuries that have marred his tenure in the Yankees organization. In 2006, it was an oblique strain. He missed all of 2007 while recovering from elbow and knee surgeries. And he threw just 62.1 innings in 2008 thanks to shoulder bursitis and elbow soreness.
But while he was healthy, Garcia was impressive, showing off a curveball that many felt to be the best in the organization. The righty seemed to be making strides in 2008, spending most of his time on the mound at High-A Tampa, going 4-2 with a 2.90 ERA in ten starts. He finished the year at Double-A Trenton, making one regular season appearance on the last day of the year and helping the team win their second straight Eastern League Championship.
2009: Garcia lasted all of five starts in 2009, all of them coming in a Trenton Thunder uniform between the middle of May and middle of June. He was simply outstanding, going 2-0 with an 0.71 ERA in five starts, holding the Eastern League to a .172 batting average against. But perhaps his K/BB ratio of 24/17 was a sign that things weren’t quite right.
Garcia was shut down after a June 10th start, and underwent elbow surgery to remove bone spurs and scar tissue, a story that was reported first here.
“It sucks going through the rehab process all over again,” Garcia told me at the time.
“But it was frustrating to be pitching through pain, too. Whatever it takes to get it fixed for good, I’ll have to do.”
After 2009: The fact that the Yankees have had every opportunity to remove Garcia from the 40-man roster and have refused to do so should give you an indication as to how bright many feel his future can still be.
Projecting where Garcia will end up in 2010 is an absolute crapshoot, as there’s no telling what the recovery timetable is for his surgery. That picture may not become more clear until the end of February or beginning of March, when Garcia would head down to Florida for spring training.
But if he is healthy, and that’s a sentence that’s been used in many a Garcia write-up, it would seem very possible that a return to Double-A Trenton at some point might be likely.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com