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Tipsheet: Cards castoff Garcia is flexing muscle with Rangers

Tipsheet: Cards castoff Garcia is flexing muscle with Rangers

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García's 3-run homer in 8th sends Rangers past Angels 7-4

Texas Rangers' Adolis Garcia celebrates his three-run home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Adolis Garcia is giving frustrated Cardinals fans one more reason to complain.

The former Cardinals outfield prospect is making his mark in the big leagues this season with the Texas Rangers. Garcia, 28, is 9-for-36 with a double, a triple, three homers and eight RBIs this season.

Tipsheet isn't suggesting Garcia the next Randy Arozarena, but the Cardinals could use such power these days. Matt Carpenter is 3-for-37 with one homer, four RBIs and 16 strikeouts -- and he keeps getting at bats.

Garcia launched a towering three-run homer Wednesday as the Rangers defeated the Los Angeles Angels 7-4.

“It’s an extremely amazing feeling,” García said through an interpreter. “Coming off the bat, I knew [it was gone] and it's uncontrollable to feel that knowing that we were behind and that put us in the lead. I had no control over my emotions, and I’m just happy that the results came out the way they did.”

Garcia celebrated with an exaggerated bat flip and some chest thumping. Given the long road Garcia has traveled to finally stick in the majors, his glee was understandable.

“He's excited he hit a home run in the major leagues to give his team a chance to win the game and I'm all about that,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “We’ve got to play this game with joy. We’ve got to enjoy those moments. They don't happen all the time.”

The Cardinals gave a reported $2.5 million bonus to Garcia as an international free agent 2017. Garcia fled Cuba, where he starred on the national team, and played in Japan while preparing to make his big league bid.

Garcia split his first season between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis before spending the next two seasons in Memphis. At the Triple-A level he hit .260 in his two-plus seasons with 58 doubles, 57 homers, 177 RBIs and an .804 on-base plus slugging percentage.

He got a cup of coffee with the Cardinals in 2018 and he went 2-for-17 with no homers and seven strikeouts.

Given his lack of plate discipline – he struck out 159 times at Memphis in 2019 – the Cardinals removed him from the 40-man roster after that season and traded him to the Rangers for a sack of baseballs, er, cash considerations.

(Remember when the Cardinals had so many outfield prospects that they were just giving them away to other teams? Ah, those were good times.)

Garcia was hitless in six at-bats for the Rangers last season while filling in during the pandemic-shortened season. He raised his profile during spring training this year by hitting .375 (12-for-32) with four doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs.

Now he is finally getting the extended big league run he envisioned when he left Cuba.

“I’m just trying to enjoy the moments that I’m having,” García said. “I’m not trying to do too much, and I’m just trying to live this dream, you know. This is my dream, it is what I’ve always wanted to do and I’m trying to enjoy it as long as it goes. That's all you really need to know.”

TALKIN’ BASEBALL

Here is what folks are writing about Our National Pastime:

David Schoenfield, ESPN.com: “Four early double-digit blowout wins have bolstered the early numbers, but [the Cincinnati Reds] also lead the majors in a couple Statcast categories, barrel percentage and expected slugging percentage. They also lead in wOBA on contact, so the early offense is legit. There are two big surprises here – Tyler Naquin with six home runs and Tucker Barnhart hitting .382 -- plus, Joey Votto is showing some signs that a revamped swing may help him.”

Mike Petriello, MLB.com: “The Dodgers were universally, unanimously, overwhelmingly regarded as the best team in baseball entering the season, and why not? They’re the defending World Series champs. They’ve won eight consecutive division titles, during which time they’ve won 41 more regular-season games than anyone else. They’d have been good if they did nothing at all, yet over the last two winters they went out and added Mookie Betts and Trevor Bauer. The expectations were weighty, to be sure. PECOTA, for example, pegged them at 104 wins before the season, and as of Tuesday, had them up to 106 wins. Projection systems, notorious for their conservativity, do not do that. Meanwhile, all the Dodgers have done is live up to those weighty dreams, and then some. Los Angeles is off to a 14-4 start after Tuesday's 1-0 win in Seattle. That's the best record in baseball, only one game off the best start in Los Angeles Dodger history, and the best 18-game start since the 2018 Red Sox went 16-2 on their way to 108 wins. It's a 126-victory pace, and while they are not going to actually win 126 -- probably, anyway -- you know where this is going. It’s not at all too early to ask the question that seems entirely too early to ask: Is this team going to end up setting new all-time standards for winning baseball?”

Mike Axisa, CBSSports.com: “As expected, the defending World Series champions have been the sport's most dominant team in the early going, and [Justin] Turner has been integral to their success. He owns a .381/.444/.730 batting line through the season's first two weeks, which is roughly 110 percent better than league average. Turner also leads the team with five home runs. Turner has never been bad in April, though he is typically a slow starter, and it's usually not until the summer months that he really starts hitting the ball out of the park . . . Turner hit three March/April home runs total from 2014-19. He already has five this April. And again, Turner wasn't bad in previous Aprils. He just didn't hit for much power. The batting average and on-base percentage were more than respectable in the season's first month. It wasn't until he got a few week's worth of at-bats under his belt that he really took off though.”

Dan Szymborski, FanGraphs: “Houston’s rotation depth over the last four years has descended from utopia to yikes and now the team’s offense is absolutely crucial to the Astros playing October baseball. The franchise’s offensive core may have originally been led by Jose Altuve and then Carlos Correa and George Springer, but Alex Bregman is now The Man, the hitter they can least afford to have missing from the lineup.”

MEGAPHONE

"We're doing some good things right now, so there's a never-say-die attitude regardless, but when you're playing the way we are and you're pretty opportunistic, and whatever transpires over the course of a game, you feel pretty good about it. It just never felt like we were out of the game even though it felt like we couldn't stop them offensively."

Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin, after his rallied to beat the Minnesota Twins for its 11th consecutive victory.

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Jeff Gordon is an online sports columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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