Garcia was never right from the first day of Spring Training, and his noticeable drop in velocity concerned team officials. He bottomed out at 76 mph in a March 22 Spring Training start against the Blue Jays, and didn't make his Phillies debut until April 18. His best outing came
May 28, when he allowed three runs in eight innings against the Diamondbacks.
Garcia and a later season-ending right foot injury to Jon Lieber had a silver lining, because it opened up opportunities for rookies Kyle Kendrick and J.D. Durbin to solidify rotation spots.
Durbin saw his manager approach him in the ninth inning, and he knew what the topic was going to be.
Durbin might want to get ready.
"I had a feeling," said Durbin, Saturday's scheduled starter. "We used our long guys, so once it got to crunch time, I had a feeling he was going to come to me. I probably could have gone 40-45 pitches."
Durbin, who threw a side session earlier Thursday morning, was warming up when Chase Utley rocketed a single to right field. Sadly, Durbin missed the celebration.
"Everybody just left [Utley] when I got there," Durbin said. "I was the last guy there. I felt like a jerk. But that atmosphere today, if you couldn't get jacked, I'm not sure you can."
Call it knowing your players, and your former ones.
Manager Charlie Manuel and most of the players know of Billy Wagner's lack of concern for runners who reach base off him.
"He doesn't have a real good move and sometimes he doesn't look over," Manuel said.
Properly briefed, Jayson Werth made the most of this information, swiping second and third on consecutive pitches after leading off the ninth with a single. That changed the inning, and set up Tadahito Iguchi's game-tying single.
"It was a situation where I needed to be on second, and I got a few reads on him and took off," Werth said. "When I got to second, he gave me one look, looked at home ... it was real slow, and I took off. I took a chance and made it happen, so it's good. I knew I was going to make it."
Like most players, Abraham Nunez prefers to look at that day's game and season before he wonders about 2008.
But after this season, Nunez may have a decision to make. Unless the Phillies pick up his option for '08 -- thus buying him out for $175,000 -- Nunez will be looking for a fit with another team. Despite a .242 batting average entering Thursday's game, Nunez has found a place as the team's only backup middle infielder. He's been used mostly at third base, but is the team's only backup at shortstop and was the sole reserve at second base before Tadahito Iguchi arrived.
"That's a decision that's going to be made after the season," Nunez said. "Those things will fall in place at the right time."
Nunez, who made several stellar defensive plays at third base on Wednesday, said he yearns to be an everyday player, but understands his value.
"Sometimes, you have to take the selfishness away and when you've been called into a role, you fill that role," he said. "I still feel that I can play every day, but this is my role. I'm going to make the best in the position that they put me in."
Comcast SportsNet delivered a 9.2 rating, with a peak of 13.7, for Wednesday's game. The telecast drew more than 273,600 households.
Coming up: Kendrick, who opens Friday's series in Florida against Sergio Mitre, has continued to baffle hitters with limited velocity. The righty has allowed three or fewer runs in 10 of his 14 outings, and Sunday against the Padres was no exception, as he limited San Diego to one run in six frames. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.