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Nats' Garcia shines in big league debut

No. 2 prospect begins career with two hits, two RBIs
Luis Garcia was 10-for-25 in 16 Spring Training games for the Nationals in 2020. (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
August 15, 2020

It had been 11 months since Luis Garcia played in a game that counted. He made it worth the wait with a sparkling big league debut. The second-ranked Nationals prospect began his Major League career with a 2-for-5 night, collecting a double, two RBIs and a run scored to help

It had been 11 months since Luis Garcia played in a game that counted. He made it worth the wait with a sparkling big league debut.

The second-ranked Nationals prospect began his Major League career with a 2-for-5 night, collecting a double, two RBIs and a run scored to help Washington to a 15-3 romp over the Orioles on Friday in Baltimore.

Garcia spent all of last year with Double-A Harrisburg, where he hit .257 with a .617 OPS as a 19-year-old in his second full professional season. With veteran infielder Starlin Castro going on the Injured List with a broken right wrist, Garcia was summoned to Baltimore to make his debut.

"Obviously, I was very excited. It was a great moment for me to find out I was going to get called up to the big leagues," Garcia told reporters through an interpreter. "I was actually going to get ready to leave for the hotel. And honestly, I wasn't surprised because I was ready any moment they needed me."

Talking to Victor Robles and Juan Soto before the game, Garcia said he was excited and not too nervous for his first appearance in The Show. He made a quick impact, grounding into a fielder's choice in the second inning and scoring two batters later when Yan Gomes ripped a triple to right field. The 20-year-old faced left-hander Tommy Milone again in the third and took a 1-2 pitch to left field for a single.

"After I got the base hit I was more relaxed than I was to begin with," Garcia said of his first big league knock. "I was very excited to help the team win today and hopefully keep pushing for another championship this year."

Garcia whiffed in the fifth and grounded to second base in the seventh but got back in the hit column in Washington's six-run eighth inning. He sent a 95 mph fastball from righty Cody Carroll into right field for a double that scored Juan Soto and Asdrúbal Cabrera.

It was Garcia's first official multi-hit game since last Aug. 31, when he collected two hits and two RBIs against Altoona in the Eastern League.

A 2018 All-Star Futures Game selection and an Arizona Fall League All-Star last year, Garcia was named the Nats' Minor League Defensive Player of the Year in 2019. He was perfect in the field Friday, making one putout and recording an assist. While Castro remains on the shelf, manager Dave Martinez expects Garcia to get the bulk of the reps at second base.

"He's going to play second base for us," Martinez said after the game. "I liked his at-bats, he went up against left-handed pitching today and he stood his ground and he was good. ... He can play second, short -- he's got a good glove. A kid with a lot of energy, loves to play and he looked really good out there. He's going to get a chance to play second base almost every day."

Garcia was signed out of the Dominican Republic for $1.3 million in 2016 and has quickly climbed the professional ladder. Since making his stateside debut as a 17-year-old in 2017, he's hit .281/.312/.373 in 305 Minor League games.

He got an extended look in the Grapefruit League before the pandemic shutdown and impressed offensively, hitting .400 with a .964 OPS in 25 at-bats with the big club.

Top Nationals prospect Carter Kieboom broke out of a 1-for-15 funk by going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Kieboom, who got the start at third base, recorded a team-record 11 assists. He has 22 assists on the season while committing one error.

Orioles No. 13 prospect Keegan Akin also made his big league debut and allowed three runs on two hits and a walk with one strikeout in three innings of relief. Akin was returned to Baltimore's alternate site camp after the game.

Indians 10, Tigers 5

James Karinchak chalked up another impressive outing, hurling a perfect seventh inning in his ninth relief appearance of the season. The Indians' No. 16 prospect induced a popup from Niko Goodrum before racking up back-to-back strikeouts of Victor Reyes and Miguel Cabrera. The 24-year-old right-hander has stifled opposing hitters to the tune of a .138 average, yielding one earned run through 9 2/3 frames. For Detroit, No. 16 prospect Beau Burrows capped a scoreless ninth by fanning Tyler Naquin. Box Score

Phillies 6, Mets 5

Top Phillies prospect Alec Bohm delivered an RBI single to center field in the second inning. It was the only hit in four at-bats for’s No. 31 overall prospect. Bohm started his second consecutive game at third base and stole an out with an over-the-shoulder catch on a foul pop off the bat of Brandon Nimmo in the sixth. Second-ranked Phillies prospect Spencer Howard had a rough outing in his second big league start. The No. 36 overall prospect was tagged for four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts over 3 1/3 innings. Howard, who left with a blister, has a 7.88 ERA through eight frames in the Majors. Mets No. 3 prospect Andrés Giménez notched his Major League-leading sixth stolen base while stretching his hitting streak to four games. Box score

Blue Jays 12, Rays 4

Anthony Kay worked a 1-2-3 fifth before pitching himself into a corner an inning later. The No. 11 Blue Jays prospect yielded a leadoff double to Willy Adames then issued consecutive walks to Yandy Díaz and Kevin Kiermaier. Kay limited the damage to one run on a sacrifice fly by Hunter Renfroe before being relieved by Wilmer Font, who promptly induced an inning-ending double play. Kay has a 1.93 ERA in four relief appearances, all of which spanned more than an inning. Box score

Rangers 3, Rockies 2

After throwing four hitless innings in his Major League debut, Ryan Castellani delivered a strong encore against the Rangers The No. 18 Rockies prospect allowed a run on two hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over 4 2/3 frames. He fanned three in the opening inning and kept the Rangers off the board until the fifth, when Nick Solak smacked his first homer of the season to right-center. Castellani recorded two more outs and walked off with a 1.04 ERA. Box score

D-backs 5, Padres 1

Padres No. 19 prospect Jake Cronenworth continued to pad his remarkable offensive stats, singling and driving in a run in the ninth against Arizona. In 15 games, the University of Michigan product has a .326/.356/.651 line with eight extra-base hits as an everyday contributor. No. 27 prospect Javy Guerra struggled in relief, giving up three runs and four hits while recording two outs, one via a strikeout. For Arizona, Daulton Varsho showed off his wheels, laying down a bunt single for his lone hit. The D-backs' No. 3 prospect reached base twice and scored once. Seventeenth-ranked Andy Young went 0-for-1 with a walk before being lifted for a defensive replacement in the seventh. Box Score

Astros 11, Mariners 1

Third-ranked Astros prospect Abraham Toro struck out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning against Seattle. Mariners No. 5 prospect Evan White delivered his third double of the year but struck out three times. He lifted his batting average nine points to .113. Box score

A's 8, Giants 7

Top A's prospect Jesus Luzardo hit his first true bump, struggling across the Bay after starting in place of Frankie Montas, who was scratched with back tightness. San Francisco tagged the lefty for six runs and six hits over 3 1/3 innings in his third big league start. Luzardo surrendered homers to Evan Longoria and Hunter Pence, marking the first time in his professional career that he allowed more than one long ball in an outing.'s No. 12 overall prospect saw his ERA climb to 4.79. Prior to Friday's start, Luzardo had allowed only five earned runs in two starts and two relief appearances. Second-ranked A's prospect Sean Murphy singled in four plate appearances. Box Score