08/09/09 3:08 PM ET
Garcia could fill fifth starter role for Sox
Veteran faring well in Minors assignment, may pitch Aug. 18
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
But when that time comes around, don't look for D.J. Carrasco to move over from his valuable middle-relief role or rookie Carlos Torres to make his third start this season. Instead, the White Sox might go back to the future and turn to Freddy Garcia, although Ozzie Guillen certainly wasn't committing to anything during the manager's Sunday pregame chat with the media.
"Freddy's on the way up, I'll be honest with you. I'm not going to hide anything from you guys," said Guillen of his close friend and basically family member, working his way back through Minor League starts. "He's throwing real well.
"I'm not saying Freddy's going to be the next guy, he's not. But the way he's pitching right now, we like that. I think Freddy needs a couple more starts in the Minor Leagues still."
Garcia, who turns 33 on Oct. 6, has made one start for Class A Kannapolis and two for Bristol's rookie team since re-joining the White Sox. The crafty right-hander has allowed two runs on nine hits and just one walk over 14 innings pitched combined, striking out 10.
In his last start on Aug. 6, Garcia fanned five over a rehab assignment-high six innings, as he continued to build up arm strength. Guillen said everything is better across the board with Freddy, with his velocity topping out at 91 mph, but still is keeping the possibility of his return at a low-key level of enthusiasm.
"As long as Freddy is healthy, Freddy can go out there and survive," Guillen said. "But I'm not very optimistic about it. I'm just saying Freddy got better."
Discussions concerning Garcia have taken place between Guillen and pitching coach Don Cooper, but they haven't talked yet with general manager Ken Williams about the situation. Guillen also hasn't talked directly with his friend during this rehab assignment.
"No. Every time I talk to Freddy, he wants to pitch here," said Guillen with a laugh. "He's feeling very good. One thing about Freddy, he's not going to lie to this organization. I don't think Freddy is going to lie to me or Coop, because he knows how much we appreciate him, how much we like him."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.