LOS ANGELES -- Veteran left-hander Jaime Garcia joined the Twins on Tuesday, getting to know his new organization by throwing a bullpen session in front of the coaching staff at Dodger Stadium.Garcia, brought in to be the club's No. 3 starter behind Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios in a trade
LOS ANGELES -- Veteran left-hander Jaime Garcia joined the Twins on Tuesday, getting to know his new organization by throwing a bullpen session in front of the coaching staff at Dodger Stadium.
Garcia, brought in to be the club's No. 3 starter behind Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios in a trade that sent prospect Huascar Ynoa to the Braves, said he found out about the trade being completed on Monday when Braves general manager John Coppolella called him. He'll make his first start on Friday in Oakland.
"I was thrilled about it," Garcia said. "This is an organization that I've heard nothing but great things about. There's talent here with a great combination of younger guys and older guys trying to win. They're competing for the postseason, and that's what I look for every year, playing in October."
As Garcia alluded to, the Twins entered Tuesday 3 1/2 games back of the Indians in the American League Central, and two games behind the Royals for the second AL Wild Card spot. With a rotation that's struggled to find consistency past Berrios and Santana, the Twins are hopeful Garcia can bring some stability. Garcia, 31, has a career 3.65 ERA in nine seasons. He posted a 4.30 ERA in 18 starts with the Braves this year.
"I think the biggest ingredient for us going forward is going to be pitching," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "That's why pitchers are always the hottest commodity at the Trade Deadline, trying to shore up any holes and increase depth. We were able to do that with Garcia, and I think it gives us a better chance to win."
Garcia, traded midseason for the first time in his career, appreciated the Twins' willingness to use one of their trade chips to bring him into an organization in playoff contention.
"It means a lot that they believe in me," Garcia said. "It gets me fired up. Just the fact they traded one of their prospects to get me, it just motivates me even more."
Garcia also admitted it's been a bit of a whirlwind the last week or so, as the trade was nearly consummated Thursday but the Braves backed out because of an issue with prospect Nick Burdi's medical reports. But he went on to start Friday against the Dodgers, allowing three runs over seven innings and hitting a grand slam off All-Star Alex Wood.
"It was a lot," Garcia said. "Friends and family thought the trade was done. People were texting me to congratulate me. But I had to tell them I was pitching against the Dodgers the next day. But it wasn't really a distraction for me. I've been around long enough. I was just focusing on wherever I was going to be pitching."
• All-Star slugger Miguel Sano was hit by a pitch on the left wrist in Monday's series opener vs. the Dodgers and was held out of the starting lineup Tuesday as a precaution when he arrived at Dodger Stadium still sore.
• Outfielder Byron Buxton, on the 10-day disabled list with a groin strain, was expected to be activated on Tuesday but a migraine headache kept him out of pregame activities Monday and Tuesday. He'll be reevaluated Wednesday.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and **Facebook**.