ANAHEIM, Calif. — Veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia will fill the Orioles' empty starting rotation spot Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels, manager Buck Showalter said Thursday.
The 36-year-old Garcia, who is 4-0 with a 2.67 ERA in five starts at Triple-A Norfolk, was scheduled to start on Saturday for the Tides, which Showalter said is one of the main reasons he's been selected to make the spot start.
"His date fits well timing-wise," Showalter said. "That's what you look at first. The good thing is that we have a lot of guys to pick from down there that we like, so you really don't have to separate them too much."
Garcia signed a minor league deal with the Orioles after he was released by the San Diego Padres near the end of spring training. His deal allowed him to opt out of his contract following his fifth start of the season, which was Sunday.
But earlier this week Garcia agreed to stay with the organization until at least May 14 with the hope that he would eventually get a big league call-up.
He will join the team here Friday and be activated before Saturday's game.
Garcia is coming off back-to-back eight-inning outings — both wins — which earned him International League pitcher of the week honors. He was 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA last week, allowing just three earned runs over 16 innings with nine strikeouts and no walks.
As of Monday, Garcia led the International League in wins (four) and innings pitched (33 2/3), and he had 21 strikeouts and just two walks.
Gonzalez back where it all began
The last time Friday's starter Miguel Gonzalez pitched against the Angels in Anaheim, he was making his first major league start last July 6.
Gonzalez held the Angels to one earned run on three hits over seven innings for his first big league win. The fact that it came against the organization that drafted him and just 30 minutes from his hometown made it sweeter.
"It went by fast, I can tell you that much," Gonzalez said of the past year. "That's where everything started. The Orioles gave me the opportunity to start that day, and I was really pumped and happy and excited. I had a really good time enjoying myself pitching against teammates I played with years back. Hopefully, I'll have that same feeling I has last year [Friday]."
In that game, Gonzalez wore a glove given to him by friend and former Angels minor league teammate Nick Adenhart, who was killed in an automobile accident in April of 2009 hours after making his first start of the season.
Gonzalez still has the glove but said he can't wear it this season because he has an apparel deal with Nike, and Adenhart's glove was made by Rawlings.
"But my heart and my words and thoughts will be always with him," Gonzalez said.
Around the horn
In his second start at Triple-A Norfolk, right-hander Jake Arrieta allowed just two runs on six hits over seven innings, striking out seven and walking one. In 13 innings with the Tides, Arrieta has a 1.38 ERA and 15 strikeouts and one walk. … Right-hander Zach Clark, who threw 36 pitches in his major league debut Wednesday in Seattle, was available to be used in an emergency situation Thursday out of the bullpen. … Despite the Angels' 10-17 record entering the series, Showalter said they won't be overlooked. "You don't want to be there when the train comes," Showalter said. "They've got too good a track record and too many good men. All you need to do is go over them in an advance report to know how potent they are."