In 2007, Freddy Garcia looked finished. After being acquired from the White Sox for Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez, Garcia registered just one win for the Philadelphia Phillies while posting a 5.90 ERA in 11 starts. That one win cost the Phillies $10 million in salary as Garcia went on the disabled list after revealing he had hid a shoulder injury.
After recovering from surgery to fix his labrum and rotator cuff, Garcia joined the Tigers in August 2008, making just three starts. He then inked a minor-league deal with the Mets that saw him released without throwing a big-league pitch for New York. He rejoined the White Sox, his old stomping grounds when he won a World Series ring in 2005. A few months later, Garcia made his 2009 debut and went on to post a 4.34 ERA in nine starts.
Despite many feeling Garcia was finished, especially after whiffing just 5.9 batters per nine innings in 2009, he entered 2010 as part of the Pale Hose's rotation. Since then, he's enjoyed success, currently holding a 8-3 record and 4.85 ERA over 13 starts. On Sunday, he won his fifth straight start and eighth of nine, vanquishing the Nationals.
Now that Mark Buehrle and Gavin Floyd have finally gotten their performance under control and are pitching well, Garcia becomes a back-of-the-rotation option, but the fact the Venezuelan was able to keep Chicago in the hunt as the de facto No. 2 starter up until this point is far more a role anyone could have expected before the season started.
It's clear Garcia's never going to recapture the magic that made him one of the league's best workhorses, but has proven he still has plenty left in the tank. Garcia has been instrumental to Chicago's ascension to .500, which they reached Sunday on the heels of a six-game winning streak. At just 5 1/2 games behind first-place Minnesota, the White Sox's season that once looked over now seems to just be getting started.
-- Evan Brunell
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