We find out tonight when the 36-year-old Venezuelan makes the start opposite former Oriole Jeremy Guthrie.
“Real excited (to get back out there),” Garcia said Wednesday. “Nice to be back in the big leagues and I’m trying to do the best I can to stay here. Was real happy with that first start, but that is in the past now.
“I don’t need to change anything (tonight). Just throw first-pitch strikes and hit my spots.”
He sure did that in his first O’s outing, throwing first-pitch strikes to 10 of the first 12 batters he faced and to 15 of 23 against Los Angeles. He lost the no-hit bid and shutout in the seventh and got a no-decision, allowing three hits and two runs over 6 2/3 innings, throwing 78 pitches.
Garcia is trying to nail down the fifth starter’s spot on a club that saw three different pitchers work to a combined ERA of 7.34 in that spot in the rotation until Garcia’s outing over the weekend.
“I don’t have any pressure, man. I just let it happen. Show up and do the best you can, make your pitches and see what happens,” Garcia said about trying to hold onto his rotation spot.
In nine career starts at Camden Yards, Garcia is 3-2 with a 2.98 ERA and seven quality starts. In 28 career starts versus the Royals, he is 10-13 with a 5.69 ERA and 11 quality starts.
The Orioles are his sixth team. Garcia was with the World Series champion Chicago White Sox in 2005 and was an All-Star with Seattle in 2001-02. He went 7-6 with a 5.20 ERA in 30 games, including 17 starts, for the New York Yankees in 2012.
Garcia had an opt-out clause in his minor league O’s contract that he recently extended with the hope that he would get called up from Triple-A Norfolk and here he is. Now we find out if he can stay.
“I saw an opportunity here,” Garcia said. “This is the best division in baseball and you always need pitching. I’ve been throwing well and my body feels great,” he said.
Garcia ranks ninth among active pitchers in career wins. Here is the list:
248 - Andy Pettitte
201 - Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson
195 - CC Sabathia
176 - Derek Lowe
175 - Mark Buehrle
174 - Bartolo Colon
163 - Barry Zito
152 - Freddy Garcia
Updated: Well, Garcia was rolling along through three innings retiring the first nine batters he faced on 32 pitches. Then came the fourth inning and a pair of two-run homers by Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer to give KC a 4-1 lead. For Gordon, it was his third homer in three games of this series and for Hosmer it ended a 144-at bat homerless run.
Chris Davis hit his 10th, a solo shot in the last of the fourth to bring the Orioles within 4-2. Davis had not homered over his last eight games, which was his longest homerless stretch of 2013.