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Garcia returning to Braves on Minor League deal

Righty gave club boost down stretch in 2013, held his own vs. Kershaw in NLDS

ATLANTA -- Freddy Garcia will once again have a chance to make the most of the same opportunity the Braves gave him last year.

Multiple sources have confirmed that the Braves have given Garcia a Minor League contract and an invitation to participate in their Major League Spring Training. The club has yet to confirm the deal. The addition of the 37-year-old right-handed pitcher gives Atlanta some much-needed big league-ready organizational depth in the starting-pitching department.

Garcia will earn a base salary of $1.25 million when he is at the Major League level. He has the potential to gain another $2.75 million in performance incentives, which are structured to account for games started and relief appearances.

If Garcia pitches effectively during Spring Training, there is a good chance he will either begin the season with Atlanta or seek employment elsewhere. If he is not on the Major League roster by March 25, he will be permitted to request his release.

After signing a Minor League deal with the Braves in late August, Garcia joined Atlanta's bullpen in early September and quickly earned a spot in the rotation. As he allowed just four runs and worked 19 2/3 innings during three regular-season starts, he gave the club enough confidence to use him in a must-win matchup against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers in Game 4 of the National League Division Series.

Playing the role of David, Garcia held his own against Goliath and exited after six innings with the game tied at 2. He was actually in line to be credited with a win after the Braves went ahead in the seventh, but Juan Uribe hit his game-winning and series-clinching home run against David Carpenter in the eighth inning.

The Braves attempted to add depth to their starting pitching by signing Gavin Floyd to a one-year, $4 million deal in December. But with Floyd sidelined at least through April, Atlanta needed the added insurance that Garcia could provide.

Garcia's presence gives the Braves a veteran option in the event that Brandon Beachy's elbow continues to prove bothersome or if the club opts not to begin the year with Alex Wood as its fifth starter.

Garcia has compiled a 4.19 ERA in the 357 starts he has made dating back to his 17-win rookie season with the Mariners in 1999. The veteran hurler has had to make numerous adjustments since his right shoulder began giving him trouble after the 2006 season.

After beginning last year in Baltimore's rotation, Garcia was outrighted to Triple-A in June. The Braves acquired him via trade on Aug. 22 and placed him on their Gwinnett roster until the Major League rosters expanded in September.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for
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