When Jaime Garcia was a child, his grandfather envisioned him in Yankees pinstripes. The Yankees made that a reality Sunday morning, acquiring the 31-year-old southpaw from the Twins for minor leaguers Zack Littell and Dietrich Enns.
Garcia said he called his mother, Gloria Rodriguez Flores, first with the news.
“It’s a funny story how my grandfather was always a huge Yankees fan and he told me when I was a kid that he would see me playing for the Yankees one day,” Garcia said Tuesday during his introductory news conference.
“My mom, she was very emotional about it because of that story. My grandfather passed away when I was 13 years old, so the family was touched by that because they’re all Yankees fans. They’re very excited for me and excited for this opportunity.”
For Garcia, the past 10 days have been quite hectic. The Braves, who traded for him during the offseason, sent him to the Twins on July 24. He made one start for Minnesota, beating Oakland on July 28, before heading to the Yankees.
“The first reaction was a little shocking because I had just gotten traded to another team and just had a few days,” he said, “but it was good shocking.”
Garcia, who is a free agent after the season, is 5-7 with a 4.29 ERA over 19 starts this year. The Yankees announced he will start Friday’s game in Cleveland, a day after Sonny Gray makes his Yankees debut.
Manager Joe Girardi said Tuesday afternoon that the Yankees will use a six-man rotation through Sunday to give Luis Severino an extra day to recover from the 116 pitches he threw in Monday’s 7-3 win over Detroit. Beyond that, Girardi said the Yankees will use five starters. He did not say which starter would be dropped out of the rotation, but Jordan Montgomery seems to be the logical option.
That would make Garcia the fifth starter.
“I don’t pay attention to what number [starter I am],” Garcia said. “All I know is I’m going to be starting a game coming up soon. I’m focusing on that start and giving us the best chance to win the game.”
Garcia made his major-league debut with the Cardinals in 2008 and remained in St. Louis through last season, before the Braves acquired him in December. He went 62-45 with a 3.57 ERA over eight seasons — he missed the 2009 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
In 2010, the Cardinals acquired current Yankee Matt Holliday. He and Garcia won the 2011 World Series together and were teammates through last season.
Holliday was one of the people Garcia called after the trade.
“He was like, ‘Hey, you’re going to fit in great here. You’re going to love the guys. You’re going to love the clubhouse, and it’s a great deal,’ ” Garcia said. “To hear from him, for a guy that I highly respect and I have a good relationship with him, it means a lot.”