By Doug Bruzzone
Special to S.F. Examiner
AT&T PARK — Just a few months ago, Aramis Garcia’s call-up to the major leagues would have been a surprise.
A 2014 second-round draft pick by the San Francisco Giants out of Florida International University, Garcia put himself on the radar in 2015 with an excellent year for the Giants’ Single-A team in Augusta, Georgia. Then, the next year at High-A San Jose, he suffered a facial fracture that cost him a large portion of the season, and a concussion the year after that, costing him precious development time both as a hitter and as a catcher.
On the first day of June of this season, Garcia was hitting just .188 for Double-A Richmond. He’d dislocated his finger at the end of April, and he hit .154 in the month of May. But he was able to turn his season around by mentally giving himself a fresh start. On Saturday night, Garcia was called up to replace catcher Buster Posey, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list and will miss the rest of the season due to hip surgery.
“I just remember on June 1 coming in and just being like, you know what, this is a new month. Because May was tough,” Garcia said. “Once June 1 came around, I just pressed the reset button. I had a pretty good June and July, and I’ve been hitting pretty well since.”
In June and July, Garcia hit .268 with eight home runs and 16 RBIs, earning earned him a promotion to AAA Sacramento. While he was there, his skills behind the plate impressed Giants reliever Hunter Strickland, who was rehabbing from a broken hand.
“I love the way he calls a game,” Strickland said. “He receives very well. Just seems very confident out there, so I’m happy for him to come up here.”
Garcia will be a backup for the last month in San Francisco, as Nick Hundley is expected to get the lion’s share of the starts. He’s impressed Bruce Bochy, a former catcher himself.
“He does a good job at blocking and receiving,” Bochy said. “He’s a good thrower. He’s ready to pitch in.”
Still, Garcia is happy to be in the majors, and has set modest goals for himself.
“Just trying to learn as much as possible,” he said before his first game as a big leaguer. “Take it all in.”
Closer Will Smith has had a lot of work lately, so Bruce Bochy is going to avoid using him today, and probably tomorrow as well. Smith is healthy, but his arm could use the break.
Jeff Samardzija is going to get a second opinion on his injured shoulder from Stanford’s Dr. McAdams at on Wednesday. There is no timetable for his return.