With a need to upgrade the bullpen, the Los Angeles Dodgers brought several relievers into camp to fight for the available spots outside of those set aside for incumbents.
Some of those faces were new to the organization such as David Aardsma and Sergio Santos, whereas others, Pedro Baez, Yimi Garcia and Paco Rodriguez, to name a few, had previous experience with the Dodgers. Injuries to Kenley Jansen and Brandon League created opportunities that weren’t expected to be available and Garcia was among those to take advantage.
The young right-hander appeared in 10 Cactus League games this year, had 15 strikeouts and allowed only one run; Garcia’s impressive camp earned him one of the seven spots in the bullpen come Opening Day.
Garcia entered Friday’s game in the seventh inning and recorded four strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Manager Don Mattingly said the late-game work for Garcia was indicative of the trust he’s earned, via ESPN’s Mark Saxon:
That’s a pretty good indicator of what we think of him that we used him right there,” Mattingly said.
Garcia made his Major-League debut last season as one of the club’s September call-ups. In eight games (10.0 innings), Garcia allowed two earned runs on six hits and had nine strikeouts. With League currently on the disabled list, and Chris Perez and Brian Wilson no longer part of the bullpen picture, Garcia is primed to make his mark.
Although Garcia has been strong dating back to the spring, what may be a development to watch is if he gets optioned to the Minors once League is prepared to be reinstated from the disabled list.
Yasmani Grandal Defends Dodgers Bullpen