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SF Giants RHP Rico Garcia to undergo season-ending surgery

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Rico Garcia #39 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the bottom of the six inning at Oracle Park on September 17, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 17: Rico Garcia #39 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the bottom of the six inning at Oracle Park on September 17, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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SF Giants, Rico Garcia
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 17: Rico Garcia #39 of the SF Giants pitches against the Seattle Mariners in the bottom of the sixth inning at Oracle Park on September 17, 2020. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

According to a report by KHON2 Sports Director Rob Demello, SF Giants right-handed pitcher Rico Garcia has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and will undergo season-ending surgery. The operation, commonly called Tommy John surgery, generally requires a 12-18 month rehab period for pitchers.

Garcia was acquired off waivers last offseason from the Colorado Rockies and had spent his entire career as a starting pitcher. However, when he arrived at Spring Training last year, the Giants deployed him in the bullpen, and his previously low-90s fastball began consistently reaching 96 mph. Manager Gabe Kapler and his coaching staff were so enthused with his performance that Garcia was deployed as a top setup option early in the season before struggles forced him between the big-league roster and the alternate site. He finished 2020 with 12 appearances, 10 innings, 7 strikeouts, a 5.40 ERA, and 4.29 FIP.

SF Giants RHP Rico Garcia will soon undergo Tommy John Surgery.

The Giants non-tendered Garcia this offseason but re-signed him on a minor-league deal. He was unlikely to make the team’s Opening Day roster. However, he was expected to be a key member of the Sacramento RiverCats bullpen. Had he excelled and/or the big-league bullpen suffered injuries or struggled, he could have quickly found himself back on the big-league roster. Now, he’ll have to wait sometime for another opportunity.

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Rico Garcia becomes the second SF Giants reliever to tear injure their UCL this spring. Rule 5 selection Dedniel Núñez was diagnosed with a similar injury last week that will ultimately end his season as well. The Giants signed several relievers with big-league experience this offseason to fortify their pitching depth heading into the season. After another major injury, it will surely be tested.

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