In his bid to win a spot in the Atlanta Braves’ starting rotation, Freddy Garcia has pitched five straight innings in two starts this spring without giving up a run. In those five innings, he has yet to allow a base runner (a streak that is more than likely soon to change). Keep in mind that he didn’t throw a pitch over 87 mph in his last start against the New York Mets.
It’s extremely vital for Garcia to perform well this spring in order to make the major league team. This winter, when he signed a minor league deal for the team, his contract stated that if he didn’t assure himself as a starter in the major leagues, he could be released out-right on March 25.
When asked what it meant that he was pitching so well early in the spring, Garcia said, “I’m just trying to get guys out and make the team. I don’t want to go back to the minors. It’s not fun when you are used to the majors.”
If he can continue his success by locating his fastball and throwing his off-speed pitches for strikes consistently, there is no reason that the Braves would hold him back from the starting rotation for at least the first month or two of the season, especially if Brandon Beachy continues to struggle.
The only two things that are holding Garcia back from a sure spot in the rotation are the fact that the Braves will have no left-handed pitchers in the starting rotation, and Gavin Floyd will return from injury soon after the season starts and the team is hoping that he will be an above average pitcher.
While it may not last longer than two months or so, Garcia is going to start the season in the Braves’ starting rotation. How he pitches when he gets there will decide whether or not he will be allowed to stay there for a longer amount of time.