Deivi Garcia has a new role for the rest of the season.
The 20-year-old top pitching prospect will move out of the RailRiders rotation and into the bullpen, manager Jay Bell said Wednesday before the team’s game against Pawtucket.
“It’s a couple different reasons,” Bell said. “One, just to preserve pitches and that kind of stuff. But they also want to see if he’s an option in New York in September. So, we’ll see what happens there.”
Garcia is already at a career-high 103.2 innings this season — his previous high 74, was set last season — and has a 4.08 ERA across three levels of the minor leagues. Overall, he’s striking out 13.4 batters per nine innings and walking 4.4. With the RailRiders, he has a 5.01 ERA in 32.1 innings, with 34 strikeouts and 17 walks.
Garcia’s last appearance came out of the bullpen Saturday in Gwinnett, but that was because the RailRiders used the rehabbing Ben Heller as an opener. Heller and Garcia combined for six no-hit innings, with Garcia supplying five of them. He walked five, struck out seven and allowed an unearned run.
Bell said Garcia will become a true reliever for the RailRiders with no set schedule. His next turn in the rotation would have been Friday at Lehigh Valley, but he’ll be fully rested by Thursday.
Including the game against Gwinnett, Garcia has pitched out of the bullpen four times in his career. The others all came in 2017: twice with the GCL Yankees West and once with Pulaski. Every appearance was more than four innings, and though it’s been a small sample size — and also not in a true relief role — Garcia has had success when he doesn’t start the game. In 18.2 innings, he has allowed two runs,one earned, on four hits, with six walks — five of them against Gwinnett — and 29 strikeouts.
Photo: Christopher Dolan / Staff photographer