ANAHEIM -- Freddy Garcia has heard the doubters and the 36-year-old right-hander, who will make his first Major League start this season for the Orioles on Saturday, isn't fazed by those who think his career is over.
"They always say that about you," said Garcia, who signed a Minor League deal with Baltimore after he was released by the San Diego Padres this spring. "I really don't care because I always put up numbers, and that's all you can really do is keep putting up numbers. … I really don't care what people say. I just go out there and do my job."
Garcia, who recently had the opt-out clause in his contract extended another two weeks, has been waiting for the chance to do so for Baltimore. After posting solid numbers at Triple-A Norfolk and earning International League Player of the Week honors, Garcia will be tabbed to help add some stability to an inconsistent rotation.
With the recent demotions of Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton -- whose turn Garcia is taking -- and some lackluster outings by their current starters, the Orioles had to lean heavily on their bullpen in the season's first month and have an opening in their rotation.
"Hopefully it's me [who takes advantage of the opportunity]," Garcia said. "And hopefully I pitch the way I know I can pitch and I can help the team win games and throw innings.
"I was working really hard [in Norfolk]. I told myself, 'You're there. You have to keep your mind there.' There's no dreaming about stuff. It's not easy when you play in the big leagues for so long and now you're a regular Triple-A guy. You're doing the same stuff they do, wherever they eat, whatever hotel they stay in, the long bus rides, all kind of stuff. You cannot take it for granted. You have to keep working hard and make it happen."
Garcia's chance in the rotation comes in a very favorable spot, as he owns a career 16-3 mark with a 2.66 ERA in 28 games against the Angels, including an 8-1 record with a 3.18 ERA in 16 starts in Anaheim.
"That's part of it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the decision to promote Garcia. "And he's pitched pretty well [for Norfolk]. This is not a guy that was a failed starter in the big leagues. I'll tell you another thing: Everybody early in the season carries better stuff than they do later on. So, he's pretty fresh right now."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less