Freddy Garcia may as well be in the American League Central again.
In his first start with the Yankees on Wednesday, Garcia will face one of the teams he’s pitched against the most in his career after spending the majority of the past seven seasons in the AL Central: the Minnesota Twins.
“They’ve had the same lineup for the last seven years,” Garcia said. “I was in the same division so I had to face them a lot. In , '05, '06, a little of '09, last year. It’s a lot.”
After signing with the Yankees in the offseason, Garcia will look to help solidify the back of the Yankees' rotation when he debuts against Minnesota. Garcia will be making his 23rd career start against the Twins, the team he’s seen the fourth most in his 13-year career.
“[I’m] excited. I’m looking forward," Garcia said. “I’m ready. It’s another game. Hopefully I will start with the right foot and pitch the way I want to pitch. I faced these guys last year. It’s another game.”
Garcia, who signed with the Yankees after posting a 12-6 record and a 4.64 ERA for the White Sox last season, had previously been a mainstay in the AL Central, pitching for Chicago from 2004 to 2006, as well as the past two seasons. He also pitched a season for the Tigers and the Phillies during that stretch.
In spring training, Garcia battled for the last spot in the rotation, eventually beating out Bartolo Colon and former Yankee Sergio Mitre for the starting role. Garcia went 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in five spring training starts.
Even with the starting gig, Garcia is aware that he has to pitch well or the Yankees could be searching for his replacement.
“I need to pitch. We see how that goes. I have to do what I know best. You come here you have to pitch good,” Garcia said. ‘You don’t pitch good, they bring somebody out. It’s like that. I have to be aware of that. Here you have to pitch. You have to deserve to be here.”
While Garcia will start Wednesday, he had originally been tabbed to start Tuesday before being bumped back so Yankees ace CC Sabathia could make his second start on five days' rest. Sabathia will also be in line to face the Red Sox on Sunday night.
Garcia said he’s thrown a couple of bullpens between now and then, including an approximately 50-pitch session on Sunday.
“I’d like to pitch every five days but that’s not the case this time,” Garcia said. “I pitch tomorrow and next week and we’ll see how this goes.”