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Report: Garcia won't join Mexico for Classic

Veteran lefty preparing for first season in Braves' rotation
MLB.com @mlbbowman

TAMPA, Fla -- Though he would love the opportunity to pitch for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, Jaime Garcia has made it clear since he arrived at Spring Training that his priority is preparing to join the Braves' rotation.

After completing two innings in his Grapefruit League debut during Wednesday's 8-7 loss to the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Garcia said he would wait a day to reveal his decision about the World Baseball Classic.

TAMPA, Fla -- Though he would love the opportunity to pitch for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, Jaime Garcia has made it clear since he arrived at Spring Training that his priority is preparing to join the Braves' rotation.

After completing two innings in his Grapefruit League debut during Wednesday's 8-7 loss to the Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Garcia said he would wait a day to reveal his decision about the World Baseball Classic.

However, an ESPN Deportes report Wednesday night quoted Garcia as saying he has chosen to not pitch for Mexico.

When the Braves acquired Garcia from the Cardinals in December, the concern was his health history. The 30-year-old southpaw has made more than 20 starts just three times since 2010 and once over the past five seasons.

After returning from shoulder surgery during the 2015 season, Garcia posted a 2.43 ERA over 20 starts. He made 30 starts last year but faded down the stretch, producing an 8.57 ERA over his final seven starts.

On Wednesday, Garcia allowed one run and two hits over two innings. He surrendered a homer to Jacoby Ellsbury in the first inning and pitched around a two-out walk to Aaron Judge in the second.

"I think the main thing is just getting your body going and getting your timing working with some of the pitches and executing the strike zone," Garcia said. "I was a little jumpy there in the first inning, but overall, I felt pretty good. ... I like where my pitches are at this early in the year."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves, Jaime Garcia