Yankees fans have been anticipating Deivi Garcia’s arrival in The Bronx since last summer.
The 21-year-old’s major league debut was worth the wait.
Garcia retired the first nine batters he faced and finished with six strong innings, allowing just one unearned run in an impressive start that got spoiled late before the Yankees came back to beat the Mets 5-2 Sunday in Game 2 of a doubleheader.
The 5-foot-9 Garcia, who has drawn comparisons to Pedro Martinez during his rise to the big leagues, looked at ease standing on the Yankee Stadium mound, working quickly and confidently through the Mets lineup. He struck out six and walked none, giving up just four singles while showing off a fastball that topped out at 94 mph and a nasty 12-6 curveball.
“Excited,” manager Aaron Boone said before the doubleheader. “He’s done well down in summer camp. The reports we’ve been getting have been strong. Excited to see him go out there and compete.”
The only blemish came in the sixth inning, when Jeff McNeil led off reaching on a two-base error by Luke Voit and came around to score on a single by Dom Smith that tied the game 1-1.
But Garcia was undeterred, coming right back to get J.D. Davis to ground into an inning-ending double play. He needed only 75 pitches to get through the sixth inning, after completing six innings just nine times in 57 starts across his four seasons in the minor leagues.
Veteran backup Erik Kratz caught Garcia — 19 years his junior — and the repertoire he built with the right-hander while both were at the alternate site appeared to pay dividends Sunday.
Garcia started last year at High-A Tampa and finished it at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees then added him to the 40-man roster in November, four years after they signed him for $200,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He entered 2020 as the No. 65 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America, and had been working at the Yankees’ alternate site before getting the call Sunday.
“He’s got a really good presence about him,” Boone said. “He pitches and has a lot of confidence in himself. That’s apparent from what we were able to see and witness in spring and in summer camp. I just want him to go out and be himself and do what he’s capable of doing. He’s got a lot of ability and he’s got a lot of confidence in that ability.”