Garcia open to whatever role Nats have for him

Garcia open to whatever role Nats have for him

Garcia open to whatever role Nats have for him
PHILADELPHIA -- If the Nationals want Christian Garcia to start games, he's more than happy to do so. And if they want him to remain a reliever, he's fine with that, too.

The rookie sees it in the simplest of terms, spending his first weeks in the big leagues, and making a splash doing so. Entering play Tuesday, Garcia had appeared in nine games out of the bullpen, striking out 11 in eight innings while scattering three runs (two homers) and seven hits.

But it's manager Davey Johnson's comments from Monday about possibly moving Garcia to the rotation next year that has the promising right-hander reflecting on his role.

"It's up to them what they want me to do," Garcia said. "I just like to play baseball. Whether they want me to relieve or start, it's up to them."

Johnson said Monday that the 2004 Yankees Draft pick and former starting prospect -- Garcia twice had Tommy John surgery -- has the pitches to be a starting candidate, and pitching coach Steve McCatty agrees that the transformation could begin next Spring Training.

Even through his surgeries, Garcia remained a starter in the Yankees' organization. It was only when he signed with the Nationals last summer that he was converted to a relief role.

"Right now, I really like relieving. Also, when I was a starter, I loved starting," Garcia said. "I could control the game. The game was on me. And I liked that, too. Each job has its perks. Whichever one they want me to do, I'll be more than happy doing."

Garcia struck out 66 in 52 1/3 innings of work with a 0.86 ERA split between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse this season. He hadn't pitched since Saturday because of some bicep soreness, but he said it's subsided entirely and Johnson said Garcia would be available for the entire Philadelphia series