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Deivi Garcia allows two homers but strikes out three in bid for Yankees rotation spot

Deivi García of the Yankees delivers a pitch

Deivi García of the Yankees delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Phillies in a spring training game at BayCare Ballpark on Thursday in Clearwater, Fla. Credit: Getty Images/Mark Brown

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Deivi Garcia’s bid to win a spot in the Yankees' rotation got off to an uneven start.

The 21-year-old righthander, who debuted last Aug. 30, allowed two home runs in two innings but also struck out three in the Yankees’ 15-0 loss to Joe Girardi’s Phillies on Thursday afternoon.

"Looked like a pitcher getting his work in," one opposing team scout said. "Wouldn’t make much of it either way."

Garcia, who posted a 4.98 ERA in six games last season — striking out 33 and walking six in 34 1/3 innings — allowed two runs, two hits and zero walks.

 

"I felt really good," he said through his interpreter. "I felt very comfortable with all of my pitches today. I did miss two pitches there and I paid the consequences. But overall felt really good."

Garcia retired the first two batters he faced before Scott Kingery unloaded on a 2-and-2 changeup and drove it to leftfield for a home run. It was the first of six hits by the Phillies on a windy day at a ballpark where the ball generally travels well regardless of the wind conditions.

Odubel Cabrera led off the second by hammering an 0-and-1 fastball to left for a home run, but Garcia struck out Jeff Mathis with a 93-mph fastball and Nick Maton with a changeup for the final two outs of the inning.

Because of his slim 5-9, 163-pound frame and the fact that he is a native of the Dominican Republic, Garcia has drawn comparisons to Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez from the time he was a teenager, something that has never bothered the Yankees prospect.

"My teammates used to make the comparison, actually," Garcia said. "But I was young and I didn’t really understand why they were comparing me to Pedro. Later on, when you start growing up and you start understanding more about baseball in general, then you start understanding why. To me, I’m proud to be compared to a legend like Pedro, a fellow countryman, someone I look up to. To be compared to someone like that, deep inside you feel proud of that."

Kluber impresses scouts

A day later, some opposing team scouts were still buzzing over Corey Kluber’s exhibition debut the night before, when the righthander struck out three in two perfect innings against the Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field.

"Showed four ‘plus’ pitches," one said, mentioning Kluber’s sinker, curveball, cutter and changeup. "And that’s in spring training. Didn’t expect that."

Gio on the field

Gio Urshela went 0-for-2 and fielded one ball with no apparent issues in his spring training debut. The third baseman, who played three innings, underwent surgery to remove a bone spur in early December and was held out of the first few exhibition games as a precaution.

"It’s good," Urshela said of his elbow. "It felt 100%."

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