ST. LOUIS — Ask around the Phillies minor-league system and folks will tell you that Edgar Garcia might have the best slider in the organization.
Now, the 22-year-old reliever will get a chance to show off the pitch in the Show-Me State.
The Phillies called up Garcia before Monday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, replacing Enyel De Los Santos, who was sent back to Triple A.
“He has a good slider,” manager Gabe Kapler said of Garcia. “It’s been good in Triple A. It has steadily improved as has his fastball command and we think the timing is right to give him a look in some leverage situations if possible. We have a fairly heavy right-handed hitting lineup for the Cardinals and I think it will be valuable to have him for this series.”
So, there will be no easing in of Garcia.
“We might not have that ability to do that,” Kapler said. “We have some games coming up that we’re going to try to win and if he gives us our best chance to go through a couple hitters, we’ll use him.”
The Phillies will spend the entire week in Missouri. After three in St. Louis, they will play three in Kansas City against the Royals.
Garcia initially worked out as a shortstop for Phillies scouts in the Dominican Republic. He did not show much with the bat, but Phillies scouts liked his arm and signed him as a pitcher for $30,000 in 2014. Garcia showed enough promise to earn a spot on the 40-man roster last fall and opened this season with a strong showing at Lehigh Valley. In 16 2/3 innings, he allowed just six hits and three runs while walking six and striking out 23.
Garcia admitted that his slider is his go-to pitch.
“I have a lot of confidence, a lot of faith, in my slider. I can throw it in any count," he said.
“I was successful because of my slider. It is one of my best tools. I wouldn’t be here without my slider.”
Garcia was on the way back to Lehigh Valley from Buffalo late Sunday afternoon when he got the call every player dreams of.
“I was on the second bus,” he said. “(Manager) Gary Jones was on the first bus. He gave me a call and asked if I was on Bus 1. I said no. So he said, ‘OK, I guess I’ll tell you on the phone. You’ve been called up to the big leagues.’“
Garcia called his mother back home in the Dominican Republic.
“She started crying,” he said.
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