Garcia pitches scoreless frame in big league debut

Rule 5 pick allows no hits, walks one vs. Rays

Garcia pitches scoreless frame in big league debut

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jason Garcia, the Orioles' Rule 5 pick from Boston, made his Major League debut in the bottom of the seventh inning in the Orioles' 2-0 loss to the Rays on Wednesday night and tossed a scoreless frame.

"It was a big rush being out there for the first time," said Garcia, a Land O'Lakes, Fla., native who had about 10 acquaintances in attendance at Tropicana Field. "Some of the guys try to give me a heads-up what it would be like, but I don't think you can really explain what that felt like."

The 22-year-old, whose fastball sat in the mid-90s on the Rays' radar gun, retired the first two batters on fly outs before issuing a two-out walk to Steven Souza Jr. That was quickly erased as catcher Ryan Lavarnway threw him out trying to steal second.

Out call confirmed in 7th

"Man, that was really cool. I'm glad I got to be a part of that with him," Lavarnway said of Garcia's debut, which was the first time the right-hander had pitched above Class A. "Showed a lot of poise, a lot of character going out there. We had the walk, but he overcame it and threw the ball really well."

Garcia, who is No. 24 on the Orioles' Top 30 Prospects list, had Tommy John surgery in 2013. He was on the O's radar after he hit 100 mph in an instructional league game against Baltimore this fall. The O's put him on their list of guys to watch for in the Rule 5 Draft and, worried he might not be around when they picked, worked out a pre-Draft trade involving cash considerations with Houston, which picked fourth.

"There was a lot of emotion flying there," manager Buck Showalter said of watching Garcia's debut. "There were a lot of hamsters running around backwards in that cage. It's an honor as you get older to have a seat to watch something like that. I know what a big moment it was for him and his family. There is no perfect spot. If you're going to carry a pitcher in the American League East, he's going to have to pitch. You're not going to hide anybody out. It makes us a little short on the bench right now, but we also would like to figure out a way to keep good potential pitchers, and he has that potential."

Garcia said he was a little surprised to come into such a close game, with the O's trailing 1-0. Not typically much of a souvenir guy, he may try to grab the game ball or the lineup card.

"I think it was initially that jog in is when it kind of hits you," he said of the moment he will remember most.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.