Detroit Tigers Rule 5 pick Rony Garcia to start in MLB debut. Who is he?

Evan Petzold
Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers don't have many options.

When Tuesday's scheduled starter Dario Agrazal was put on the 10-day injured list Monday with a forearm strain, manager Ron Gardenhire knew he'd have to turn to his bullpen for the second straight game. 

Right-hander Rony Garcia, a 22-year-old Rule 5 pick from the offseason, will start Tuesday night at Comerica Park vs. the Kansas City Royals in an expected opener role, meaning he's only expected to pitch three innings before the bullpen takes over.

"Hopefully he'll go at least three, and we'll go from there," Gardenhire said Tuesday. "Two or three, and we'll move from there, however the game seems to be going."

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Detroit Tigers pitcher Rony Garcia makes a pitch during an intrasquad game at training camp at Comerica Park in Detroit, Wednesday, July 8, 2020.

Between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton for the New York Yankees in 2019, Garcia started 24 of 25 games. He was 4-13 with a 4.01 ERA in 130⅓ innings. He struck out 129 and walked 45.

"He'll have plenty of time to think about this thing, which might be good or bad, depending on how he does with it," Gardenhire said. "I think this, rather than coming out of the bullpen, he'll be fine. I think he'll handle this pretty well. That's just a guess."

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In Garcia's minor league career, he has started 72 of 75 games with a 3.50 ERA over 396 innings in four seasons.

On Monday, Gardenhire said left-hander Tyler Alexander would be available to pitch Tuesday, so he could be an option out of the bullpen once Garcia finishes. Alexander, 26, started eight of 14 games last year.

The Tigers used five relievers in Monday's home opener — Kyle Funkhouser, Beau Burrows, Carson Fulmer, John Schreiber and Anthony Castro.

Gardenhire said Agrazal has a strain in his forearm, not a tear, though they are awaiting MRI results. He's going to rest for 3-5 days before undergoing a reevaluation. The timetable for his return hasn't been determined. 

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Wilson retires

After a seven-year MLB career came to a close last season, right-handed reliever Alex Wilson has announced his retirement Tuesday to join Ballengee Group, a sports agency group in Dallas where he will recruit and advise players. 

Pitcher Alex Wilson makes a throw during Detroit Tigers spring training at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020.

Wilson, 33, pitched four years in Detroit, from 2015-18. For the Tigers, he was 11-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 172 strikeouts in 264⅔ innings across 246 games. He signed back with the organization in January 2020 but was released in June.

He played 303 games in his MLB career.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold