Matt Garza joins suddenly revitalized Rangers rotation

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Matt Garza was all business on his first day with the Texas Rangers, so much so that he stuck with his routine of not speaking to the media the day before a scheduled start.

His introduction will come Wednesday, when he takes the Rangers Ballpark mound in his first start since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Monday.

Instead, Garza did on Tuesday the normal things pitchers do, including shagging balls during batting practice on a sweltering afternoon. He made the rounds to chat up new teammates and caught up with former Cubs teammates Geovany Soto and Jeff Baker.

Garza also joined a starting rotation that in 24 hours has gone from a serious concern to one that rivals the best in the American League.

Yu Darvish returned Monday, Alexi Ogando was back Tuesday, and Derek Holland and Martin Perez have been holding the line until everything came together again.

It has, on paper. The rest is up to the five guys in the rotation, and possibly two others who are trying to make their way back from injury.

“Anytime you can get the rotation back together is huge,” Holland said. “I’d say we feel whole again. It’s just a matter of continuing to do what we’ve been doing. Just because we got guys back doesn’t mean we can stop working hard. Now, we’ve got to take care of it.”

Darvish didn’t allow a run in 6 1/3 innings as the Rangers beat New York 3-0, and Ogando was sharp early on against the Yankees before allowing three runs in five innings. Garza and Holland will finish out the four-game series before Perez works the opener Friday at Cleveland.

It’s conceivable that manager Ron Washington could have a tough decision to make some time next month if Perez continues to pitch well. Colby Lewis (triceps) said that all went well Monday during a rehab start at Double A Frisco, and Matt Harrison has been given the all-clear from back specialist Dr. Drew Dossett.

Lewis and Harrison as fallbacks certainly sounds better than Nick Tepesch, Josh Lindblom or Justin Grimm, who was part of the Garza deal.

“The tide has turned in the sense that we’re getting some of those arms back,” Washington said. “Now, they’ve got to go out and perform.”

Garza has performed of late, going 5-0 with a 1.24 ERA in his past six starts. He has a power repertoire and seldom hurts himself with free passes.

Soto remembers catching a pitcher who mixes his pitches and isn’t afraid to challenge hitters inside. He’s also a fierce competitor.

“He’s going to prepare and he’s going to give you 100 percent, guaranteed,” Soto said. “He’s got a changeup, curveball, slider and pitches in with a two-seamer. He likes to mix and match, and it’s going to be fun to see.”

Garza, all business on Tuesday, will introduce himself Wednesday.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson

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