Christian Garcia injury: Nationals reliever cleared to throw

Jamie Squire

The right-hander played catch on Sunday for the first time since going down with a forearm injury over a month ago.

The Washington Nationals got some good news on the eve of Opening Day, as right-handed reliever Christian Garcia was cleared to resume a throwing program, reports James Wagner of the Washington Post.

Garcia, 27, has been sidelined for over a month with a partially-torn tendon in his right forearm. The right-hander got back into the swing of things on Sunday, throwing from 45 feet with no pain, and hopes to the same from 60 feet on Monday.

Garcia is on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 22, so the earliest he'll be able to return to the team would be April 6. However, seeing as how he hasn't faced live hitters since February, and taking his long injury history into account, it's likely that he'll be sidelined until at least the end of the month.

Despite an injury rap-sheet for Garcia that includes two Tommy John surgeries, a nerve issue in his shoulder, and now the forearm strain, the Nats still believe that the right-hander can be stretched out to provide rotation depth in the event that one of their starting five goes down.

Garcia has worked solely as a reliever in his two years in the Nats' organization, posting an incredible 1.36 ERA and 11.6 K/9 in 72⅔ innings, most of which were thrown at Double-A and Triple-A. The right-hander made his MLB debut in September last year, giving up three runs while striking out 15 and walking just two in 12⅔.

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