EVERETT — Has Rigoberto Garcia figured it out?
Everett AquaSox pitching coach Nasusel Cabrera believes so.
Garcia was removed from Everett’s starting rotation after a rough start to the season. However, after a strong outing in relief Friday, Cabrera said Garcia is on his way back.
“He did a very good job,” Cabrera said of Garcia’s performance on Friday. “He made some adjustments on his mechanics and he adjusted very well.”
Garcia, a 6-foot-5, 20-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic, is one of the more promising pitchers on Everett’s staff. Last season he was Everett’s opening-night starter as a 19-year-old, went 4-0 with a 2.22 ERA in five starts, and was promptly promoted to Clinton of the mid-Class A Midwest League. It seemed Everett was in Garcia’s rearview mirror.
However, Garcia was less effective upon arriving in Clinton last year (2-5, 5.23 ERA), and he was lit up for six runs in two-thirds of an inning in his one start for Clinton earlier this year, and wound up back in Everett. Then, in his first two starts with the Sox, he couldn’t find the strike zone, walking 12 in five innings, resulting in his removal from the rotation.
The move to the bullpen gave Everett’s coaching staff a chance to tweak Garcia’s mechanics. The primary change was simplifying his wind-up.
“Before he was having an over-the-head delivery,” Cabrera explained of Garcia’s arm motions prior to throwing a pitch. “But now he’s just (bringing his arms to his chest).
“He’s so big that his body was not well coordinated,” Cabrera added. “He had to make everything easier because his body was moving too much and it was hard to coordinate.”
Garcia needed an adjustment period in his first relief outing since making the mechanical change, giving up two runs in his first inning at Salem-Keizer on Monday. But he was perfect in the second inning of that two-inning stint. Then on Friday he had an extended relief appearance, going four innings. While he still had some control issues (three walks and a hit batter), he struck out seven.
“He made the adjustment and I think he got it,” Cabrera said. “Now he has everything better coordinated.”
Cabrera said it’s’ not certain whether Garcia will return to the rotation, but he said it’s possible after another two or three relief appearances.