Right-hander Jason Garcia was the latest minor league starter to get yanked from his routine to fill in for a shorthanded Orioles bullpen. Garcia was called up Saturday to replace Mike Wright, who was optioned after Friday's game.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter, like he said with Wright, indicated Garcia was here because he was the best option the team had. But in supporting the team's decision to go with Garcia, who worked as a reliever last season after the Orioles selected him in the Rule 5 draft, Showalter indicated the 23-year-old would soon be back in the Double-A Bowie rotation where he came from.
"I'm going to always support playing him off the tough position," Showalter said. "[Ryan] Mountcastle is going to have to prove he can't play shortstop. This guy has got to prove he can't play center field. This guy has got to prove he can't start. We'll start there. …
"I'm fully supportive that they're letting him go down the starting road. He's got a work day. He's throwing 80, 90, 100 pitches — that only prepares him to come up here and pitch whether it's as a starter and reliever. Same with Mike Wright. They're going to play their way off the other. Do we think they can do the other? Sure. I don't know if you've noticed, but starting pitching is at a real premium up here. We're going to continue to sift through it."
Showalter said Garcia threw particularly well in his most recent start, which came Tuesday. He struck out five and walked one in six innings of five-hit, two-run ball to lower his ERA to 4.79. In nine starts over April and May, Garcia had a 6.07 ERA with 17 strikeouts and 25 walks in 43 innings. Since then, he has a 3.12 ERA in 34 2 3/3 innings over six starts with 23 strikeouts and 14 walks.
"The last month, I've been working a lot with my fastball command and just really working on getting more consistent, and I feel like my command has come a long way so far this year," Garcia said.
He has been heeding Showalter's advice to attack hitters, which was delivered in his major league stint last year.
"Just attacking hitters, getting ahead early and just try to carry that down there," Garcia said. "The same mentality I had here. And be aggressive and treat it like it's the same game."
O'Day spending break in Sarasota: Reliever Darren O'Day (hamstring) will spend the All-Star break in Sarasota, Fla., after playing catch again Sunday, Showalter said.
"I'm hoping he would probably join us in the locker room in Tampa when we get there [Thursday]," Showalter said. "I'm hoping by that time that we've got some real positive movement, that he's up on the hill and throwing, but I can't tell you that's going to happen anytime soon. To put a time frame on it, we were told and it's come to pass that it might be a while. But we need him back. We need to get him back."
Showalter said O'Day's injury has particularly impacted the role of right-hander Mychal Givens, and cited the film "Jerry Maguire" in saying O'Day "kind of completes the bullpen."
Planning ahead: Wright will start Thursday for Triple-A Norfolk, and Tyler Wilson will follow him with a three-inning start Friday. Showalter said both could have short outings to keep them in contention to be in the major league rotation coming out of the All-Star break.