Leyland impressed by Garcia

Leyland impressed by Garcia

DETROIT -- Freddy Garcia has been a hot topic ever since the Tigers signed him to a Minor League contract on Aug. 12, and manager Jim Leyland was in Toledo, Ohio, on Thursday to see for himself what they acquired.

The skipper was nothing short of impressed.

Making his second Minor League start and first with the Triple-A Mud Hens, Garcia tossed three strong innings, surrendering no runs and striking out four.

"I saw exactly what I expected," Leyland said. "I saw a guy that's coming back. He definitely knows what he's doing. He threw some balls 86 [mph]; he threw some balls 88, 89. He had a good curveball, good split -- a know-how guy."

Garcia made only 11 starts last year for the Phillies, who declined to offer him arbitration after having shoulder surgery that was going to cost him most, if not all, of the 2008 season.

It was a nearly risk-free signing for the Tigers, who now must decide whether to bring up the 33-year-old right-hander in September.

"We have not made a final decision on that yet," Leyland said. "We're discussing some options, but there's been nothing cemented along those lines. We have some ideas, which I don't care to share right now, but that has definitely not been decided for sure.

"I saw some things I liked, for sure, but the guy's pitched five innings. The arm was free. There was no restrictions or anything. I know how the guy competes. I don't worry so much about the results. I liked the way he pitched."

Leyland also said Garcia might pitch winter ball to try to build up his arm strength, but decisions on that are not final, either.

"This guy last year wasn't a real hard thrower, but he still was a very successful pitcher," Leyland said. "This guy used to be a 94-95 [mph thrower]. Do I think that's ever gonna happen again? That's probably questionable. I'm not necessarily looking for that. I don't think that's gonna happen. But you don't have to throw 94-95. I was pleased with what I saw."

David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.