- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Nationals’ Christian Garcia proving that talent was never a question
Righty has had two Tommy John surgeries, spent 9 years in minors
Question of the Day
NEW YORK — Maybe it was the two Tommy John surgeries. Or the nine years Christian Garcia spent traversing the minor leagues, either developing or rehabbing. But the Washington Nationals right-hander’s major league career has lasted just more than a week, and pitching in a one-run game in the eighth inning of a pennant race doesn’t faze him.
Tuesday night, Garcia used the New York Mets as his latest canvas to show that it wasn’t talent denying him a major league career, only injury. He threw 1⅓ innings, sometimes overpowering, other times devastating, to prove that, in the words of Jordan Zimmermann, “He’s nasty.”
“He has an outstanding repertoire of stuff,” Nationals manager Davey Johnson said of the former starter. “The sinker he threw [David Wright], they were raving about it on the mound. They said, ‘That big donkey’s got a better sinker than [Ryan Mattheus].’ I guess when you’re 6-foot-7 and throwing downhill, it might have a little sink to it.”
Garcia’s brief performance has been so impressive he could put pressure on the Nationals to consider including him on their postseason roster. Johnson brushed off the suggestion but didn’t totally dismiss it.
“It’s too early for that,” he said. “I’m not going there.”
But Garcia has weapons the Nationals could use in their already-solid bullpen. He possesses a mid-to-upper-90s fastball, a strong curveball and what coaches called a “plus-plus” change-up that he can throw to right-handers and left-handers with equally impressive effectiveness.
He doesn’t lack for confidence, either. When pitching coach Steve McCatty informed Garcia after a spotless seventh inning that he’d be going out to begin the eighth, Garcia looked him in the eye and told him, “Don’t worry, I got it.” McCatty nearly fainted.
“I said, ‘I’m going to give you 10 seconds to take that back,’” McCatty said, having flashbacks to the time he told then-Athletics manager Billy Martin the same thing, only to surrender three home runs the next half-inning.
” ‘Don’t ever tell me you’ve got it. Take it back right now. Tell me you’ll pound the zone. Tell me something else.’ He said, ‘OK, OK, I’ll pound the zone.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I don’t ever want to hear “I’ve got him.’ … You don’t challenge the baseball gods — but he’s very confident.”
Garcia has pitched in five games for the Nationals. Two have featured more than one inning, and all but one have been spotless efforts.
“If you ask me who I faced tonight, I know I faced big-league hitters,” he said. “That’s who I faced. I’m going to go in there and do what I can. I’m not going to change my approach for the guy who is standing in there. I’m going to go in there and go after him.”
The Nationals have plenty to get through before they can focus on their postseason roster. There’s the matter of clinching a playoff spot first. But if and when they do, Garcia’s name is almost certain to be in the conversation, which could make for a difficult decision.
“Without a doubt,” Garcia said. “It’s the kind of person I am. I like being in spots where there’s pressure. I tend to do better when those opportunities arise. … I want to show them what I have to offer and help the team any way I can.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Amanda Comak covers the Washington Nationals and comes to The Washington Times from the Cape Cod Times and after stints with MLB.com and the Amsterdam (N.Y.) Recorder. A Massachusetts native and 2008 graduate of Boston University, Amanda can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on Twitter @acomak.
- What will Nationals do this offseason to contend again in 2014?
- As Nationals' manager search begins, Randy Knorr the players' choice
- Davey Johnson's big-league journey ends with Nationals loss
- Team spirit and Holy Spirit — for Nationals religion looms large on and off the field
- Jordan Zimmermann falls short of 20th win as Cardinals prevail again
Latest Blog Entries
- A fond farewell, and a bit of thanks
- Nationals coaches wait in limbo as team searches for next manager
- Davey Johnson won't be in uniform for Nationals in spring training
- Tanner Roark starts season finale with youthful lineup behind him (UPDATED)
- Dan Haren, Nationals top Diamondbacks in season's penultimate game
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- ON THE RUN: Competition for Redskins backup running back is heating up
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors