Sore shoulder stings Garcia, Phils

Sore shoulder stings Garcia, Phils

KANSAS CITY -- Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he thought Freddy Garcia might be pitching with a sore shoulder.

Garcia confirmed Manuel's suspicions after he was unable to get out of the second inning in an 8-4 loss to the Royals on Friday night, snapping the Phillies' six-game road winning streak.

Garcia, who turns 31 on Sunday, will be examined on Monday when the club returns to Philadelphia.

"When I took him out of the game, I walked him downstairs and started talking to him," Manuel said. "I asked him [about his shoulder]. I told him if he's hurt, I don't want him pitching. I told him, 'The way you're throwing, it definitely looks like to me that you're hurt.' He's a mentally tough guy and wants to pitch, but at the same time -- then he told me his shoulder was sore."

Garcia is 1-5 with a 5.90 ERA. His fastball is peaking in the mid-80s, not in the 90-mph range, as in past years. He appears not to be the same pitcher who won 17 games in 2006 for the White Sox and has pitched at least 200 innings in the past seven seasons.

"I told him, basically, I do not want somebody who is hurt pitching," Manuel said. "I want you pitching [at] 100 percent. If there is anything wrong with you, I have to know it. He wanted to talk about it. He was upset because his performance wasn't good. We'll check him out and see what's wrong with him."

Garcia acknowledged he had pain in his shoulder and could not extend his arm like he wants.

"I don't have much to say," Garcia said. "Monday I'll check it out and see what's going on with my shoulder. I've got to stop pitching. I don't want to pitch the way I've been pitching. If it is not 100 percent in my shoulder, there's nothing I can do."

Garcia began the season on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis and did not make his first start until April 17. He confirmed the shoulder has been bothering him since Spring Training, but "the last couple of outings" it has been worse.

"I don't feel the way I want to feel," Garcia said. "Right now, how they hit me, I cannot pitch that way. You want to go out and try to pitch the way you want to pitch, and it is not going to happen."

Garcia, who was pulled after 50 pitches, faced 14 batters, and nine reached base and six scored. It matched his shortest outing, which was Aug. 1, 2003, with the Mariners against the White Sox.

The Phillies gave Garcia a 3-0 lead with a Ryan Howard two-run homer, his 11th, in the first, and a Greg Dobbs home run in the second.

The Royals, however, sent 10 men to the plate in a six-run second to chase Garcia. The inning included a two-run Mark Grudzielanek home run that hit the left-field pole and a two-run Mike Sweeney shot into the Phillies' bullpen. Sweeney is 22-for-50, a .440 average, with four home runs and 14 RBIs against Garcia.

"Freddy was having some trouble," Manuel said. "He got two outs, and it seemed like he had a hard time getting the other. He ended up giving up two home runs in the inning, and, of course, giving up six runs. At that point, it turned the game around. He was having trouble throwing his fastball over the plate. He got behind in the counts. He got into the counts I call the have-to counts, where you have to throw a strike. Plus, they have good numbers against him. They've hit him in the past."

It was more than a poor outing, however, that most concerns the Phillies.

The Phillies trimmed the lead to 6-4 in the fifth when Rod Barajas homered. Barajas has a .385 career average with seven home runs against Kansas City.

The Royals then padded their lead with two runs in the seventh off Francisco Rosario.

The Phillies collected 10 hits, including eight for extra bases, but it was not nearly enough. The Phils led off three of the final four innings with doubles, but they were unable to score a run. Philadelphia went just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.

It also was a night Chase Utley will not want to remember, as he struck out four times and stranded four runners in scoring position. It was the first time in 505 career games that he struck out four times.

Alan Eskew is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.