WASHINGTON -- Nationals right-hander Christian Garcia, who is on the disabled list because of a right forearm strain, will join Double-A Harrisburg sometime next week.
According to Garcia, the Nats' No. 15 prospect, he will be a reliever for the Senators. There was talk early in Spring Training that he could be a starter, but that was squelched after he went on the disabled list before Opening Day.
Garcia, 27, said the forearm is 100 percent. He was able to pitch one inning in an extended spring game on Thursday. Before that, Garcia was able to throw a simulated game and didn't have any problems with the forearm.
"I can't wait to get back," Garcia said via telephone. "It's tough to watch. I want to help [the Nationals] as much as I can."
Garcia didn't pitch in a Grapefruit League game after feeling pain during the team's first workout in February. He felt the cold weather played a role in his forearm discomfort.
Garcia said he was surprised that it took him so long to return, but he understood that the Nationals wanted him to take it slow and make sure he was 100 percent.
"It was more of a precautionary, I think, considering the amount of time I rested," Garcia said. "I think [the Nationals] did the right thing by making sure this is behind me, so it doesn't reoccur or happen again. I had absolutely zero issues with it. They definitely made the right move and taking it a little slower to make sure things are right. At the end of the day, it's a marathon, not a sprint. It's finishing in September, not in May."
Last year, Garcia made his Major League debut with Washington, allowing three runs in 12 2/3 innings with 15 strikeouts. It earned him a spot on the playoff roster. Now, he can't wait to return to the big leagues and help the Nationals out of the bullpen.
"I just want to be up in Washington with those guys," Garcia said. "It's always hard to sit back … and not be able to do anything, not being able to help. When guys go down, you want to be there for your team."
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats.