3:55pm: The Nationals have now made it official, announcing Garcia’s selection. In corresponding moves, right-hander Paolo Espino was placed on the 15-day injured list with a flexor strain of his fourth right finger while catcher Israel Pineda was transferred to the 60-day IL. The move for Pineda is simply a formality as he’s already been on the IL all year, much longer than 60 days, meaning he can be reinstated at any point.
8:55am: The Nationals will select the contract of right-hander Rico Garcia from Triple-A Rochester, MLBTR has confirmed. Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post reported this morning that the move was expected to be made today. They’ll need a 40-man roster move to make that official. It’s possible there will be other additions, as Dougherty suggests the team is in a scramble following yesterday’s blowout loss to the Cubs.
The 29-year-old Garcia joined the Nats on a minor league deal just last week after rejecting an outright from the A’s, who’d designated him for assignment. He was tagged for eight runs in 8 2/3 innings during his brief time with Oakland, but Garcia has pitched well in Triple-A this year and continued that trend with the Nats. He’s tossed 2 1/3 shutout frames in Rochester, punching out three hitters along the way.
That drops Garcia to a 2.93 ERA in 27 2/3 innings this season. Dating back to last year, the righty has a 2.60 ERA with a strikeout rate north of 29% against a 13% walk rate in 62 1/3 Triple-A innings. The latter of those two rates is obviously a concern, but Garcia’s results at the top minor league level have been strong nonetheless.
The Nats will be Garcia’s fifth big league team. In addition to the A’s, he’s spent time with the Orioles, Giants and Rockies but never received a lengthy look at the MLB level. He’s tossed just 32 2/3 innings across parts of four seasons, recording a composite 6.29 ERA in those scattered opportunities.
Washington has ample uncertainty in the bullpen, particularly with Hunter Harvey and Carl Edwards Jr. on the injured list at the moment. The trio of Amos Willingham, Paolo Espino and Jose Ferrer was tagged for 14 run in relief of Patrick Corbin yesterday. Kyle Finnegan and Mason Thompson are the lone established relievers in the Nats’ bullpen at the moment, and the former is a trade candidate, given that he’s into his arbitration years and only has two years of club control remaining beyond the current season.