In September of 2007 the Philadelphia Phillies stormed from a seven game deficit on September 12 to win National League East Division crown. Winning 16 of their final 22 games allowed the team to capture the first of what would be five straight division titles.
As with every other season, that Phillies team found that there were times during the season where they needed to reach down into the minor league system to call for reinforcements, even if just for one game.
Extra pitching is pretty much always needed when you play at Coors Field, where the Phillies were headed for a three-game weekend set. Fans who were following the club that season will remember this as the series during which Phillies players rushed to save the Rockies grounds crew from being suffocated under the infield tarp during a rain delay in the Sunday game.
Looking into the minors for a fresh arm who appeared ready to provide some emergency help, general manager Pat Gillick decided upon the 26-year-old Garcia. In what was his first (and ultimately only) season with the organization, Garcia was enjoying a solid season split between Double-A Reading and Triple-A Ottawa. He had a 3.07 ERA through 32 appearances and had not been scored upon over his previous eight outings.
Garcia was originally signed as a 20-year-old international free agent out of his native Dominican Republic in May 2001 by the New York Yankees. Two years later he was dealt to the cross-town New York Mets as part of a three-prospect package in exchange for veteran closer Armando Benitez.
In May 2006 the Mets promoted him briefly to the big-leagues, but he never appeared in a game and was returned to their minor league system. Placed on waivers that August, Garcia was claimed by the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s let him go during the subsequent off-season and he was signed by the Phillies, setting the stage for that July 2007 opportunity.
On that Saturday night in Colorado the Rockies hitters battered Phillies starter Jamie Moyer for five earned runs on eight hits over 5.2 innings in taking a 5-3 lead. Manuel brought in Brian Sanches to get out of the 6th inning, and then sent up Carlos Ruiz to pinch-hit when Sanches’ turn at-bat came up in the top of the 7th inning.
It was then for the bottom of the 7th that the Phillies manager decided to send out Garcia for his debut in Major League Baseball. He would face four batters in the heart of the Rockies batting order, retiring both Matt Holliday and Garrett Atkins on deep fly balls while surrendering singles to Todd Helton and Troy Tulowitzki.
At that point, Manuel chose to make another pitching move, bringing in J.C. Romero. The veteran left-hander allowed an RBI single to Brad Hawpe before getting out of the inning, with that run charged to Garcia.
His final line showed one earned run allowed on two hits over 2/3 of an inning. The Phillies would go on to lose 6-3, dropping them below the .500 mark at 43-44 on the season. That left them in third place, 5.5 back of the front-running New York Mets and two behind the Atlanta Braves, just 1.5 up on the Florida Marlins.
That’s it, the only time that Garcia would ever take the mound in a big-league game. He would be sent back to Ottawa where the righty finished out the season by making 19 more appearances.
Unfortunately he didn’t end on a good note, allowing a dozen earned runs and 19 hits over 9.2 innings across six appearances. That led to his release from the Phillies organization. He was signed by the Seattle Mariners and pitched in their organization during 2008 before being released in early July after being unable to recover from shoulder troubles.