Lefthander Jaime Garcia had no idea that there were reports that he could be traded from the Twins after making one start for them.
"I don't have social media," he said. "I don't know what's going on out there. I didn't even know about Minnesota (when traded on Monday). Everyone in the clubhouse in Atlanta and my family knew. Which is something that has allowed me to focus on the things I can control"
"My job is to execute pitches for the Minnesota Twins for now and help us win as many ballgames as I can. And if that would change in the offseason or some other time, then you adapt or change to whatever the situation is."
With the Twins looking to end a four-game losing streak on Friday Garcia took the mound and became the stopper, pitching into the seventh inning as the Twins beat Oakland 6-3. Garcia, 5-7, beat the A's in his first career start at Oakland as the Twins, six games back in the American League central division, were able to keep pace with division leader Cleveland and second place Kansas City, as both teams won.
Just days after the Twins dealt for the veteran to help with their playoff chances, Garcia, 31, could be moved to another contender before Monday's non-waiver trade deadline.
According to a source with knowledge of with talks, the Dodgers and Yankees both have expressed interest in Garcia since he's joined the Twins. And the Red Sox are also monitoring who the Twins could make available. That's how quickly things can change in the days before the trade deadline, when a winning or losing streak can alter a team's plans.
The Twins acquired Garcia on Monday from Atlanta along with catcher Anthony Recker and about $100,000 in cash in exchange for minor league righthander Huascar Ynoa. A lot has happened since then. The Twins, aftert losing four straight, are now six games behind first-place Cleveland and four behind second-place Kansas City, as well as four back in the wild card race. They were as close as one-half game out of first place on July 22.
Garcia helped them keep pace with a strong 62/3 inning outing during which he gave up three runs on eight hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. According to the Twins charts, he threw a first pitch strike to each of the 29 batters he faced Friday. Two Oakland hitters swung at the first pitch the first time through the order, both fouling it off. Two did the second time through, netting a swing and a miss and a flyout to right. They picked up on it more the third time through, as five batters went after first pitch fastballs.
It worked enough on Friday, in Garcia's first appearance at Oakland Coliseum.
"To go that deep in the game for us in his first start, get his first win as an American Leaguer, it's a good way to start the series after the after that happened against the Dodgers," Twins manger Paul Molitor said.
Ehire Adrianza opened the scoring in the second with a RBI single. The Twins could have had a bigger inning, but Eddie Rosario was thrown out on the play before. He headed for home on Zack Granite's single thinking he would score easy because Oakland second baseman Adam Rosales wasn't positioned as if he was throwing him. Rosales surprised him with a throw home.
The Twins jumped to a 5-0 lead in the fourth, on a RBI double by Jason Castro, RBI single by Dozier, one run scoring on a wild pitch and another scoring when catcher Ryan Lavarnway dropped a throw at the plate that allowed Brian Dozier to sneak in. Garcia gave two back in the bottom of the inning, when the first two batters reached base - the third straight inning the leadoff hitter had reached - and scored on Lavarnway's double.
Castro drove in Robbie Grossman with a double in the fifth to make it 6-3. Oakland had two on with one out in the bottom of the inning - their fourth straight inning with men on base - and Khris Davis drove in one run with a single to cut the Twins lead to 6-3. But Garcia, who entered the game sixth in baseball with a 55.4 percent ground ball rate, got Jed Lowrie to ground into a double play to end the inning.
"For me, regardless of what happens behind me or regardless if we score runs or who I'm facing, I'm focusing on that next pitch," said Garcia, who threw 98 pitches. "Executing quality pitches, and I was able to do that tonight."
And the wait is on to see which team he will get to execute for next.