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.
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.