Freddy Garcia returns to the New York Yankees' starting rotation Monday night when the Yankees (48-30) begin a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays (41-38) at Yankee Stadium (7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN/YES). The Yankees are six games ahead of the second-place Baltimore Orioles in the American League East entering Monday's action, and 7.5 ahead of the fourth-place Rays.
Garcia (2-2, 6.39 ERA) has not started a game for the Yankees since April 28, when he lasted just 1.2 innings against the Detroit Tigers and surrendered six runs. He was banished to the bullpen at that time with an ERA of 12.51. With CC Sabathia on the disabled list for a couple of weeks and Andy Pettitte for at least two months, the 36-year-old right-hander is getting another opportunity.
"I've been playing this game for a long time, and I have to be ready for any situation," Garcia said via MLB.com. "My arm feels good. We'll see what happens Monday, but hopefully I pitch good with the way I've been pitching lately. I feel great."
Garcia has posted a 1.56 ERA in 10 relief appearances.
"I was more surprised by how the season started for him than how he's been pitching lately," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on Wednesday. "It's tough to take a veteran and get him to go to the bullpen, but he did it. He's waited for his opportunity, and now it's come back around. I look forward to him taking advantage of it. I know what he's capable of doing. We've seen it before, and I hope we see it again."
Left-hander Matt Moore (4-5, 4.19 ERA) will oppose Garcia.
Here are the pitching matchups for the rest of the series.
Tuesday: Ivan Nova, Yankees (9-2, 4.03 ERA) vs. James Shields 7-5, 4.04 ERA)
Wednesday: David Phelps, Yankees (1-3, 3.16 ERA) vs. David Price (11-4, 2.92 ERA)
-- See Pinstripe Alley for more discussion and analysis of the Yankees