But he pitched a scoreless inning in relief of Cliff Lee on Wednesday night to begin a new chapter in a remarkable baseball career.
"That was really fun," Garcia said yesterday afternoon. "I was nervous."
"His stuff looks good," Lee said. "When you've got stuff like that, when you can throw 95 and have a good slider, that plays at any level. If he maintains confidence and throws strikes and goes at them, I'll take him on my team any day."
Garcia said he wasn't even thinking much about baseball 2 years ago.
From 2006 to 2010, Garcia pitched in the Los Angeles Dodgers' and Washington Nationals' organizations, but never advanced beyond Class A ball. He didn't play anywhere in 2011.
And so he tried his idle hands at hair styling.
"Not that good," Garcia joked about his barbershop skills. "I cut hair and then I went to a moving company. I found a job teaching kids how to play baseball [at Frozen Rope in Pine Brook, N.J.]."
Garcia kept his arm in motion all along and finally tried out for a few teams in March. He showed off a live arm, but didn't hear anything from the scouts watching him throw.
"I was throwing pretty good, and nobody said anything to me," Garcia said. "I thought maybe I'd stop playing again."
But the Phillies were among the teams at the tryout and they gave him a call and an opportunity to reboot his professional baseball career.
Garcia began the 2013 season at Class A Clearwater, where he had a 1.37 ERA in 14 games. Since he kept getting hitters out, he earned promotions to both Double A Reading and Triple A Lehigh Valley.
On Tuesday, his big-league dreams were realized when he was summoned to Citizens Bank Park to take the bullpen spot of demoted reliever Phillippe Aumont. A day later, Garcia stood atop a major league mound for the first time, look around for a second, and then went to work against Harper, Zimmerman and Jayson Werth.
It was clearly a long way from standing behind a hair stylist's chair.
"It's a big difference," Garcia said. "I wasn't making that much money. It's way different."
Carlos Ruiz has only three extra-base hits in 37 games this season. After hitting a career-high 16 home runs in 2012, Ruiz has yet to hit one in his first 118 at-bats in 2013.
But Ruiz is hitting .299 in 21 games since returning from the disabled list with a hamstring injury.
Even though Ruiz has hit .300 since the beginning of 2010, manager Charlie Manuel was asked before the game whether Erik Kratz could supplant Ruiz for regular catching duties when the former returns from his own DL stint. Kratz, who has played in two rehab games after undergoing knee surgery last month, has 13 extra-base hits, including eight home runs, in 43 games with the Phils this season.
Of course, Kratz is also hitting .229 with a .290 OBP.
"I look at Kratz as a guy who is definitely a big-league catcher," Manuel said. "I like the tandem of Ruiz and Kratz. I think Kratz is durable enough to catch some games. I look at Ruiz as definitely catching more, but at the same time, I also look at Kratzie as a guy who can definitely go in and catch quite a bit. Of course, how good he does, all that counts, too. That wagers how much he gets to play."
Lee's time off
Cliff Lee could have a long layover if he doesn't pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game.
Lee made his final start of the season's first half on Wednesday night. Even if he leads off the second half when the Phils return from the break next Friday in New York, Lee would have 8 days off between starts.
Although some managers aren't always in favor of their pitchers competing in the All-Star Game - an exhibition that has very little bearing on their own teams - Manuel endorsed the National League using Lee next week.
"I'm always glad when one of our pitchers makes the All-Star team," Manuel said. "I think I'll let [San Francisco manager Bruce] Bochy manage the team . . . [but] if it's important for him to get in the game, I hope he gets in the game."
Lee has thrown 138 2/3 innings in 2013. Among major league pitchers, only Adam Wainwright (140 2/3 innings) has pitched more.
DN Members Only : Frandsen delivers in a pinch.
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