Concern over Garcia growing

Concern over Garcia growing

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The worry concerning Freddy Garcia has officially been elevated a level or two among White Sox nation.

Garcia was hit around for the second straight Cactus League start on Wednesday afternoon at Goodyear Ballpark, with the Indians putting up 10 runs on 12 hits in 3 2/3 innings against the right-hander. In the second inning alone, Cleveland scored eight runs on eight hits.

Factoring in his start last Friday against the D-backs at Tucson Electric Park, Garcia has yielded 17 runs on 23 hits in 8 2/3 innings. It's of little wonder Garcia's ERA jumped from 1.13 on March 17 to 10.38 at the end of Cactus League action.

"I can't wait to get out of here, man," said Garcia, drawing a laugh from outfielder Alex Rios, who was standing next to him in the visitors' clubhouse. "You want to pitch good in Spring Training, and I'm taking it serious.

"But if that doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. Where it matters is during the season. If you pitch like this during the season, that's when you start to think about it and you are in trouble."

Four or five regular-season starts like these past two from the White Sox fifth starter could mean a call to Daniel Hudson at Triple-A Charlotte. Garcia no longer is a hard-throwing, blow-the-fastball-by-you sort of pitcher, relying more on location and movement.

Wednesday's ability to keep the ball down was an issue for Garcia, as was finishing off hitters. Garcia has been known to pitch better against playoff-contending sort of teams, as his 16-6 career record against Detroit and 14-3 mark against the Angels would indicate, while struggling to get up for second-tier teams such as the Royals (8-13) or the Orioles (4-7).

Getting the proper work in and preparing for the regular season stand as Garcia's primary Spring Training motivation, not the results, but he will work on making adjustments during two or three bullpens he throws before he makes his first 2010 start against the Twins on April 10. And for those who have doubts caused by these pair of disastrous outings, Garcia asks for a regular-season reprieve before passing judgment.

"There's nothing you can do about it," Garcia said. "There are always people who are going to talk about you if you don't perform the way you want.

"My last two times have been rough, but I can't wait until the season starts. It's a shame the way I've been pitching, but it's different when the season starts, when the bell rings. You have more focus, more concentration on what you do.

"For me, the biggest thing is feeling good every time I go out there," Garcia said. "I didn't pitch the way I wanted, but today I was feeling great."