FORT WAYNE – Frank Garces earned just his second win of the season last week.
But victories don’t tell the whole story for the left-hander, who is one of four TinCaps on the Midwest League Eastern Division All-Star team.
Pitcher Adys Portillo, catcher Austin Hedges and shortstop Jace Peterson will join Garces at the All-Star Game on Tuesday at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva, Ill., the home of the Kane County Cougars.
I feel really good, Garces said last week through translator and teammate Portillo. It’s an honor. I am happy to be in the All-Star Game.
Garces has a 2-4 record. His first victory came April 21 against Kane County. His second was June 12 against Lansing.
League managers noticed all of his numbers in making him an All-Star.
He’s got great stuff, Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin said. He’s pitched better than the record he has. He’s going to pitch in the big leagues at some point.
Garces has a 2.88 ERA. In 65 2/3 innings, he has 64 strikeouts and 28 walks. He has given up two or fewer earned runs in 10 of his 13 starts.
For a small guy (5-foot-11), he throws downhill, Fort Wayne pitching coach Willie Blair said. He has good angle on his fastball most of the time. He’s able to change speeds. He has a decent changeup and a really good curveball.
What we’ve been trying to work on is trying not to show that curveball too early or too often. Use it when you need it. He can get people out with his fastball. He can set people up for the curveball with his fastball. We just have to continue to emphasize that he needs to use his fastball and get in good counts.
Garces displayed it all during the season opener April 5 against Lake County. He got the nod after Cody Hebner was a late scratch because of an injury and gave up one unearned run on two hits. He struck out nine in six innings but didn’t factor in the decision.
I was surprised because Hebner was going to throw the first game, Garces said. But I did it, and it made me feel very good. I was really happy to throw the first game.
Garces, from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, began his career in the Texas Rangers organization. He spent the 2009 season with the Dominican Summer League Rangers, going 0-2 with a 4.96 ERA.
Garces did not play in the minors in 2010 but did pitch in an independent Dominican League. He signed a minor league free-agent contact with the Padres on May 12, 2011.
He had a 4-3 mark with the Dominican Summer League Padres with a 2.97 ERA. He led the league with 115 strikeouts.
He’s been just as effective in the Midwest League.
I want to keep working and try to finish with a good season, Garces said. Try to do exactly what I did in the first half.
I hope that I finish really good.