The Washington Nationals have been getting nothing but good reports on hard-throwing right-hander Christian Garcia, who has been in Viera, Fla., rehabbing a partially torn tendon in his right wrist.
Garcia has thrown off a mound for several days, throwing fastballs and changeups, and is expected to begin working curveballs into his repertoire on Thursday. The next step for him will be throwing live batting practice, and then getting into extended spring training games.
As of now, the plan is still for Garcia to be stretched into a multi-inning pitcher.
“I think our plan is the same as it was in spring training,” said Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo. “We’re going to stretch him out to multiple innings. I don’t know if that means multiple like seven, eight. We’ll shoot for that, but we’ll just shoot for multiple innings and see if he builds up.”
Garcia was a revelation as a late-inning reliever for the Nationals in 2012 as his long, winding, injury-riddled path finally took him to the major leagues.
But with a strong arsenal of pitches, the Nationals were planning to stretch him into a starting pitcher during spring training and have him serve as some much-needed insurance for their rotation. The injury to his wrist derailed those plans for a bit.
Now, finally pain free, Garcia appears to be back on track — albeit later than expected.
“Everybody in the front office was in agreement going into spring but we never got there,” said manager Davey Johnson. “Now he’s not going to be under my wing so it’s going to be probably more of a need thing, what they need at Triple-A.”
Rizzo said it’s likely that when Garcia is ready, which may not be until the end of the month, he will likely join Triple-A Syracuse.