The odds of Christian Garcia being ready for opening day are dismal, if they haven’t wholly disappeared. Garcia is recovering from a partially torn tendon in his right forearm, and the Nationals have set a rough timetable for him that seems to preclude him joining their roster until late April.
Garcia is scheduled to play catch next on March 17, four weeks from the chilly day he first felt a twinge in his arm as he fired a fastball during a bullpen session. After their pitchers take time off from throwing to heal an injury, the Nationals typically have them rebuild arm strength for the same duration they missed.
You can deduce when he might be ready from there. Garcia may not be ready to pitch in a game until mid-April. At that point, he would likely pitch in a handful of games on a minor league rehab assignment. While there are no official pronouncements to report, Garcia may well miss the first month of the season.
In a call-up last season, Garcia was one of the Nationals’ best arms. Throwing four pitches and hitting the high 90s with his fastball, Garcia allowed three earned runs in 12 2/3 innings, striking out 15 and walking two. In the minors last year, he compiled a 0.86 ERA as a closer.
The Nationals planned to stretch out Garcia’s innings this spring with the potential to make him a starter. It remains to be seen how his injury will affect those plans.
>>> Closer Rafael Soriano said he felt good after his 12-pitch debut yesterday and hopes to throw seven or eight innings in the spring. “Last year, the year before, I do the same,” he said. “Seven or eight innings, and I’m ready for the season.”