MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Hoping to bolster their rotation for a playoff run, the Minnesota Twins got veteran left-handed pitcher Jaime García, catcher Anthony Recker and cash from the Atlanta Braves for minor league righty Huascar Ynoa on Monday.
The 31-year-old García is 66-52 with a 3.65 ERA and 808 strikeouts in 176 appearances, mostly with St. Louis (2008, 2010-16). He missed the 2009 MLB season following Tommy John surgery.
Garcia is 4-7 with a 4.30 ERA, 41 walks and 85 strikeouts in 18 starts this year.
Twins manager Paul Molitor said he planned to start Garcia on Friday night at Oakland.
“We all know his track record. He certainly knows how to pitch. It’s a nice addition to our club,” Molitor said.
Garcia stopped by the visiting clubhouse Monday afternoon to collect belongings, get a travel itinerary and say goodbye to Braves teammates who were getting set to face Arizona at Chase Field. He’s expected to join the Twins at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.
Garcia’s name had been circulating in trade rumors during the past week, and Braves manager Brian Snitker said he handled all of the talk well.
“Seeing his name out there and the game he pitched the other day (seven innings at Los Angeles), just the professionalism he had through the whole thing,” Snitker said. “Talked to him today, and he’s so appreciative of everything here, as we are of him. He’s a great teammate and he did a great job for us.”
While Garcia’s numbers don’t jump off the page, the Twins were in need of a veteran arm to put into a rotation that has been largely disappointing behind the top two starters, Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios.
The Twins have been one of baseball’s biggest surprises through the first four months of the season, hovering near the top of the AL Central a year after posting the worst record in the big leagues.
After losing two of three at home to Detroit over the weekend, they were still just 2½ games behind first-place Cleveland as they headed into a series with the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Starting pitching was their biggest need, with Kyle Gibson (6.08 ERA) and the banged-up Hector Santiago (5.63) both struggling and Phil Hughes (5.87) now on the 60-day disabled list.
As it stands, Garcia will slot in as the No. 3 starter behind Santana and Berrios and likely ahead of Adalberto Mejia and Santiago, when he returns from a rehab assignment.
Despite the better-than-expected start to the season, new Twins bosses Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have said that they will be active as the trade deadline approached, but didn’t anticipate sacrificing some of their top-rated prospects to land a major name.
Staying true to that public stance, the Twins did not pay a hefty price for Garcia, who is in the final year of his contract.
The 33-year-old Recker has appeared in 206 major league games with four teams, including the past two seasons in Atlanta.
The 19-year-old Ynoa has a career minor league record of 5-11 with a 3.05 ERA, 54 walks and 118 strikeouts in 30 starts.
Garcia had been scheduled to start Wednesday’s series finale at Arizona before the trade.
“He was excited to come here (to Atlanta),” Snitker said, “and he’s sad to go.”