TAMPA, Fla. – From his usual perch in the back of the bullpen, hidden beneath the right-field grandstand at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Yankees manager Aaron Boone bowed his head as he watched the mound session over recent of David Garcia. The Dominican’s fastball looked livelier, Boone thought, perhaps a good sign of things to come for the right-hander.
That translated into Garcia’s introduction on Wednesday night, as he pitched 2.0 scoreless innings in the Yankees’ 7-1 victory over the Orioles in the Grapefruit League. Garcia was unscathed in the first inning, despite a Ryan Mountcastle double in his 27-pitch outing, and his fastball reached 96.1 mph.
“His material looked really good,” Boone opined. “What I’ve been seeing, I think it made him feel in the game. You realize he’s throwing with a lot of confidence, so let’s hope he keeps it up.”
Garcia threw eight sliders, four changeups and a curveball, walking none and striking out one, striking out Trey Mancini for the second out of the first inning.
“When he’s inspired off the mound, he attacks the zone quite a bit,” Yankees guard Kyle Higashioka said. “When he has struggled, he has lost the zone. That’s definitely a point of emphasis for him this spring and hopefully he’ll continue to work on it.”
The 22-year-old Garcia dropped from No. 11 to #29 on the Yankees’ top prospects list according to MLB Pipeline after posting a 6.85 ERA in 24 Triple-A games (22 starts) last year. Garcia also made a couple of starts in the Major Leagues, going 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA.
“If the guy puts together some good showings and has a good year, he can quickly reset you — especially if he’s young,” Boone said.
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