Orioles welcome Garcia into the rotation

Freddy Garcia makes his Orioles debut this afternoon in Anaheim, and I’m sure many fans still remember his first start of the 2012 season at Camden Yards.

Garcia faced the Orioles three more times, but nothing could erase his April 10 outing for the Yankees, when he allowed four runs (three earned) and four hits in 4 2/3 innings, with three walks, a hit batter and five - count them, five - wild pitches.

He threw 98 pitches. He was awful.

And now he’s an Oriole. It’s a funny game.

Garcia, 36, is nicknamed “The Chief,” which I believe is already taken by Geronimo Gil. We’ll let them fight it out.

You can have too many chiefs.

I’ve been asked why Garcia is getting the start ahead of Jair Jurrjens or someone else at Triple-A Norfolk. Well, he extended his opt-out clause to May 14, and the Orioles want to take a look at him. They usually don’t stay married to their mistakes. If he can’t cut it, he’ll be gone.

Garcia was 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts with the Tides. He walked two and struck out 21. Statistically, he earned the opportunity.

The timing seems to be right. He’s 16-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 28 career starts against the Angels, his second-most wins against any opponent. And he’s 8-1 with a 3.18 ERA in 16 career starts at Angel Stadium.

If the Orioles are going to run him out there, it may as well happen in Anaheim.

Garcia is the eighth starter used by the Orioles. Josh Stinson was one and done. Zach Britton was one and done. Garcia is hoping to stick around a little longer.

Jurrjens is breathing down his neck. Steve Johnson has jumped back in line. Jake Arrieta is on a nice little roll, having allowed two runs in 13 innings over two starts, with one walk and 15 strikeouts.

The Orioles’ season doesn’t hinge on how Garcia pitches, but if he can eat up innings, save the bullpen and win some games, it’s a good signing. If he duplicates his April 10, 2012 start, the revolving door in the rotation could spin again.

That game seems so long ago. Endy Chavez batted leadoff and Nick Johnson was the designated hitter. Mark Reynolds committed two errors at third base. Matt Lindstrom pitched in relief.

Garcia pretty much owns the Angels, but Howie Kendrick is 5-for-10 with a double, triple and home run against him. Josh Hamilton is 4-for-12 with three homers. Erick Aybar is 5-for-8. Mike Trout is 3-for-5 with a double.

Shameless plug alert: I’m back on “Wall to Wall Baseball” from noon-2 p.m. on MASN.

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