Manager Davey Johnson confirmed what had already become obvious about Christian Garcia, saying today there is “no possibility” the right-hander will be ready to pitch opening day.
Garcia has not even played catch for nearly a month, and on Sunday he will visit a specialist in Baltimore to run tests on the partially torn tendon in his right forearm. He will return to the Nationals on Monday and could begin throwing again if all goes well in Baltimore. Garcia has felt improvement with the injury, but that will not leave him enough time to prepare for the season by opening day.
“He’s champing at the bit,” Johnson said.
Garcia will likely miss nearly a month of the season as he rebuilds arm strength for the season. Johnson still plans for Garcia to stretch out to a starter’s workload. “But we’ll probably keep him [in extended spring training] once he starts throwing, see where he’s at,” Johnson said.
Garcia impressed last September as a call-up, allowing two earned runs in 12 2/3 innings with 15 strikeouts and two walks. So long as he recovers from the partially torn tendon, Garcia could either serve as insurance for the Nationals’ starting rotation or become a factor in the back end of their bullpen.
With Garcia out and Henry Rodriguez rolling along, the composition of the Nationals’ opening day bullpen seems set, barring a trade or another injury, with these seven pitchers: