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Consistency remains an issue for Deivi

March 11, 2020

JUPITER, Fla. -- Deivi Garcia continues to struggle in his attempt to make the Yankees’ Opening Day roster as a fifth starter and replacement for injured left-hander James Paxton. In his third start this spring, Garcia worked 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits in Wednesday's 3-1 loss

JUPITER, Fla. -- Deivi Garcia continues to struggle in his attempt to make the Yankees’ Opening Day roster as a fifth starter and replacement for injured left-hander James Paxton.

In his third start this spring, Garcia worked 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits in Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Marlins at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. He walked one and struck out three, and 31 of his 48 pitches went for strikes.

After delivering a 1-2-3 first inning, Garcia gave up a two-out, two-run single to shortstop Sean Rodríguez in the second. He nearly wiggled out of trouble after allowing the first two batters to reach base, but Rodríguez bounced a 3-2 changeup through the infield.

“The idea was to have better command of the breaking pitches, curveball, slider,” Garcia said of his game plan. “We’ve been working on the changeup, and I wanted to put that in action. I think today I was able to do that. I was able to have better command of those pitches, execute with the changeup. When you’re pitching, you control what you can control. That’s what it’s all about.”

New York’s No. 3 prospect, Garcia led all Yankees Minor League pitchers last season with 165 strikeouts. And though he now has eight strikeouts in 7 1/3 spring innings, not much else has gone his way. He is 0-2 in Grapefruit League play, with a 7.36 ERA.

Manager Aaron Boone will continue to build Garcia's workload in hopes that he can produce some consistency with his delivery.

“Command his secondary and fastball; [if] he does that, he’s always got a chance to be successful,” Boone said. “Biggest thing is just to continue to build towards the season.”

Garcia is one of several candidates hoping to win that spot as the fifth starter.

“We’ll see,” said Boone. “I have a little idea that is starting to form in my head. That said, I feel like there’s a lot of guys vying for opportunities that have pitched themselves into the mix. I’m still very much open to a lot of different things. That’s why we’re trying to build guys out in a certain way, to give us those options and try to make the best decision.

“Again, that could be fluid. We always talk about that first game, and that could change in a couple of weeks and go in a direction that maybe you didn’t necessarily foresee. So I’m open, but I’m certainly starting to formulate something in my mind where I think it’s going.”

In four Minor League seasons, Garcia is 17-20 with a 3.37 ERA with 416 strikeouts over 293 2/3 innings.