The small type known as agate in most sports sections across the country regularly includes calls for players to try out for professional baseball teams.
Many are called, few are chosen. Few, meet Luis Garcia of the Philadelphia Phillies and use his story as an inspiration. Chances are good Garcia might be called upon today as the Phillies have a Saturday doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox to make up for a Friday night rain out.
Out of baseball for the last two years, Garcia bounced around as a mover and a hairdresser before seeing a notice in a New Jersey newspaper paper for a professional baseball tryout in March. The Phillies were among the teams there and allowed Garcia to begin the 2013 season in Class-A Clearwater (Fla.), where he posted a 1.37 ERA in 14 games. They quickly moved him up the chain for short stays at Double-A Reading (Pa.) and Triple-A Allentown (Pa.), where he did nothing but get batters out in late innings.
Since getting batters out in late innings for the big club has been a bugaboo, the Phils resorted to Garcia more out of necessity than anything else.
Garcia, 26, never pitched in the big leagues before Wednesday, when he pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Cliff Lee. To say Garcia’s rise to the majors has been meteoric might be an understatement. He pitched in nine games with the Newark (N.J.) Bears of the Independent League last year, but, other than that, has not picked up a baseball in a competitive situation in the last two years.
Then, on Wednesday, he found himself in a major-league game against the Washington Nationals, getting Bryce Harper to ground out and retiring the other two batters he faced, Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth.
Not bad for a guy who snipped hair and moved boxes for the past two seasons.