No surgery for Garcia; he could return

Posted: June 15, 2007

Freddy Garcia won't have surgery and could pitch again this season for the Phillies.

Could pitch again.

Garcia met Wednesday with noted orthopedist James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., to get a second opinion on his injured right shoulder. The Phillies said Monday that the righthander had "pathology" in the labrum [cartilage] and fraying of the rotator cuff.

Andrews concurred with the Phillies' diagnosis, and the club said in a statement yesterday that Andrews and the Phillies were "in complete agreement that a conservative approach should be taken in regard to Garcia's injury."

Garcia, who seemed to be leaning toward surgery when asked about it Tuesday, apparently agreed.

"There can be a healing process, yes," said Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phillies' assistant general manager. "I know players in the past with similar injuries who have come back to pitch effectively, and there are other players who have had surgery."

Amaro said it was impossible at the moment to say whether the 31-year-old Garcia would be able to pitch effectively for them this year. Time will tell. Garcia, who is being paid $10 million this year, went 1-5 with a 5.90 ERA in 11 starts. The Phillies acquired him in December in a trade with the Chicago White Sox for pitchers Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez.

Garcia will be a free agent after the season.

"If he can come back and pitch effectively for us, it's a bonus," Amaro said. "If he can't, he can't."

Garcia will not throw for several weeks and at some point will begin a tossing program.

Amaro said there was no timetable for his return.

The Phillies said that team physician Michael Ciccotti and Andrews agreed that Garcia's injury stemmed from his logging so many innings as a starting pitcher. Garcia, who opened the season with tendinitis in his right biceps, has thrown 200 or more innings in seven of his first eight seasons in the majors.

In the meantime, rookie righthander Kyle Kendrick, who made his big-league debut in Wednesday's 8-4 victory over the White Sox, is expected to start next week in Cleveland.

"The only thing we can ask of a guy in that situation is to give us a chance to win, and he did that," Amaro said.

Extra bases. About 6,000 tickets remain for tonight's series opener against the Detroit Tigers at Citizens Bank Park, and only 3,000 tickets are available for tomorrow night's game. Sunday's game is sold out. Standing-room tickets will go on sale at 9 a.m. Sunday.


Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki at 215-854-4874 or tzolecki@phillynews.com.

Read his blog at http://go.philly.com/zozone.

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