When the Nationals showed up in their clubhouse today before the start of a four-game series against the Cubs, there were two new arrivals to pitch in during the stretch run.
The Nats selected the contracts of right-hander Christian Garcia an left-hander Zach Duke from Triple-A Syracuse. To accommodate them on the 40-man roster - which stood at 39 before the additions - right-hander Henry Rodriguez was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Garcia, a longtime Yankees farmhand who joined the Nationals’ organization before the 2011 season, has never pitched in the majors before. Duke spent seven seasons in the big leagues, appearing in 181 games with the Pirates and Diamondbacks from 2005-11. Both had stellar campaigns with the Chiefs in 2012.
Garcia’s arrival was widely anticipated, while’s Duke’s was something of a surprise.
The 27-year-old Garcia converted all 21 of his save opportunities between Double-A Harrisburg and Syracuse this season. In 27 outings with the Chiefs, he went 1-1 with 14 saves, an 0.56 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings pitched. He’s a great story; Garcia has twice undergone Tommy John surgery and now joins a big league club for the first time.
The 29-year-old Duke, an All-Star in 2009 with the Pirates, went 15-5 with a 3.51 ERA and led all International League pitchers in wins. His 15 victories matched the organization’s record for wins by a minor leaguer set by Brad Peacock in 2011 for Syracuse. Over his career, Duke is 48-74 with a 4.56 ERA.