A Bad Sign for Christian Garcia, Updated

Christian Garcia is a 24-year-old right-handed pitcher with a mid-90’s fastball, one of the best curveball’s in the Yankees system, and a strong changeup. He’s just about proven everything in the minor leagues but the ability to stay healthy.

He was expected to start last season with the Trenton Thunder with a good chance that he would have the opportunity to advance to the Scranton Yankees and even make it to the Bronx if he did well enough. Instead he dealt with a sore shoulder from the start and only managed to throw 25.1 innings all season long.

The silver lining was that Garcia dominated, although he had slight control problems and his fastball was slightly slower than usual, but he still managed a 0.71 ERA. Garcia still hasn’t managed to throw at least 100 innings since 2005, but all signs were that he would finally enter the 2010 season completely healthy.

Well, that dream didn’t last long. Here is an excerpt from the Journal News’ Chad Jennings:

Girardi didn’t provide many details, but minor league right-hander Chris Garcia sat out today’s bullpen session because of some pain in his elbow. Good news is he’s expected to play catch tomorrow. I don’t really know Garcia at all, but I’d love to see him get through a healthy season just to show what he can do, for better or for worse.

If he’s got some elbow pain it means he hasn’t turned the corner and all of his innings last season, all 25 of them, were pitched in pain. Just because he’s throwing tomorrow doesn’t mean he’s going to throw painfree and for a guy who hasn’t been able to stay on the mound, almost at all, since 2006 it is not a good sign.

It would have been nice to see him put together a full season and maybe he still can, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

Update: Chad Jennings had an update today explaining that the pain in his elbow came after he was pitching, not during. He also classified the concern as minor

Unfortunately my point is still the same. When it comes to Garcia it’s hard to not treat something like this as a big deal. The guy has literally not pitched without pain in years and if he still has pain in the elbow it should be seen as a red flag. Maybe I’m making a bigger deal out of this than I should be, but it seems like Garcia’s elbow is just not up to the rigors of being a major league pitcher.

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