Perseverance leads Garcia to Tigers callup 

September 1st, 2019

DETROIT -- This is the moment that pushed Bryan Garcia through the workouts and the frustrations last summer as he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery. The former University of Miami closer was seemingly on the fast track to the big leagues, rocketing from Class A West Michigan to Triple-A Toledo in 2017, when a torn ligament in his right elbow presented a roadblock.

When Mud Hens manager Doug Mientkiewicz called him into his office Saturday night and told him he was headed to the Majors as a September callup, Garcia said, it was surreal.

“This was the goal, of course,” Garcia said. “But there’s so many ups and downs throughout the year, especially coming off of this. So the fact that I’m here is just unreal. I’m just proud and really happy.”

Garcia pitched at three different levels this year, posting a 3-0 record and 3.05 ERA in 38 games after returning to action in May. The 24-year-old right-hander struck out 47 batters over 41 1/3 innings while allowing just 30 hits.

Like shortstop , who was called up last week, Garcia’s September stint will serve as a late-season audition to see where he fits with the Tigers for next season. If the stretch run goes well, he could join closer Joe Jimenez, also 24, as the young late-inning core of Detroit’s bullpen.

Garcia isn’t trying to think that far ahead just yet. After the work he put in over the last 18 months, he wants to enjoy this.

“Just to go out there and have fun,” Garcia said. "Keep doing what I’m doing, pitch the way I know how to pitch and let everything else take care of itself.”

Along with Garcia, the Tigers recalled right-hander John Schreiber from Toledo. The Michigan native allowed three runs on four hits in two appearances during his brief call-up three weeks ago, but will get a longer look this time.

More call-ups are expected once the Minor League season ends on Monday, including the return of lefty starter Tyler Alexander, third baseman Jeimer Candelario, outfielder Christin Stewart and catcher Grayson Greiner.

Here’s a quick look at other notes from the Tigers farm system this year:

Arrival: Castro, the Tigers’ 11th-ranked prospect according to MLB Pipeline, has already made an impact in just over a week as the Tigers shortstop, including an RBI single in Saturday’s 10-7 win. His error on a hard-hit grounder proved costly in a four-run first inning Friday, but he’s already at plus-1 in Defensive Runs Saved, according to Fangraphs.

Breakout: Tarik Skubal won’t make it to Detroit this month, but the ninth-round pick from last year’s MLB Draft might not be far off after dominating at Class A Advanced Lakeland and Double-A Erie. With 179 strikeouts over 122 2/3 innings and a .196 batting average allowed, the big left-hander vaulted into the MLB Pipeline top 100 list.

Something to prove: The way center fielder Daz Cameron impressed the Tigers in Spring Training, this should’ve been the time for him to make a claim on an outfield spot in Detroit. But his growing pains in Toledo, including a .216 average and 150 strikeouts over 118 games, are a reminder that the 22-year-old still has some learning to do.

Name to watch: The Tigers have a decision to make with former first-round pick Derek Hill, who must be added to the 40-man roster this winter or be exposed to the Rule 5 Draft. After injuries hampered his development the last few years, a healthy Hill finally showed his potential this year in Erie, providing almost daily highlight catches in center and right field. His hitting still needs work, but his .242 average and .701 OPS includes a strong second half. He’ll try to build on that in the Arizona Fall League later this month.