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Originally published June 19, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 28, 2007 at 9:09 PM

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Freddy Garcia: Damaged goods?

One thing has become apparent in the case of Freddy Garcia's injured right shoulder: Nobody ever really wanted the full truth out. Even Sunday, as the...

Philadelphia Daily News

PHILADELPHIA — One thing has become apparent in the case of Freddy Garcia's injured right shoulder: Nobody ever really wanted the full truth out.

Even Sunday, as the former Mariner prepared for his rehab trip to Clearwater, Fla., he appeared to continue to lie.

Garcia's agent, Peter Greenberg, recently told The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., that Garcia had received a cortisone shot in his right shoulder June 5, three days before Garcia's start in Kansas City. He left that start after five outs and landed on the 15-day disabled list the next day.

Sunday, Garcia told the Philadelphia Daily News that Greenberg was wrong: "I have no idea what he's talking about," he said.

About an hour later, assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. confirmed that Garcia had, in fact, received a cortisone shot on June 5.

This is the latest in a series of, at best, poor intra-organization communication; at worst, overt deceit by at least some of the principals.

Garcia was asked by the Daily News after his ill-fated start in Kansas City if the Band-Aids seen on his shoulder three days before were because he had received a cortisone shot; Garcia said no.

Incredibly, he said that the Band-Aids were decorative; then he said he wore them because he had received massage treatment to the area.

With similar brazenness, the Phillies continue to shrug their shoulders and accept Garcia's injury as part of the risk of making deals for pitchers.

The Phillies, as is common practice, did not give Garcia an MRI before accepting him in a December trade with the White Sox for pitching prospects Gio Gonzalez and Gavin Floyd. They relied on White Sox medical staff reports. Nothing unusual showed up in Garcia's spring-training physical, which also did not include an MRI.

Garcia missed his first two starts of the season with right biceps tendinitis. Exams after his start in Kansas City revealed labrum damage and rotator cuff fraying.


Garcia has indicated that he was told by team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti and by specialist Dr. James Andrews that surgery is an option, but he said he was told invasive surgery would require a minimum of 10 months before he could return. A less invasive arthroscopic procedure, he said, would require less recovery time, though he wasn't sure how much less.

Either way, Garcia, 31, would be damaged goods on the free-agent market this offseason. That might be the motivation for all the incomplete answers and outright deceit.

Garcia, 76-40 in 5 ½ seasons with the Mariners, is in the last year of a contract that will pay him $10 million, the second-highest salary any Phillies pitcher has received.

Perhaps Garcia flew to Clearwater on Sunday night with that in mind. He will exercise his arm but he will not throw for at least two weeks, he said.

That will give him about four weeks of rest, after which he will test his arm.

If it has not healed enough for him to begin a rehab program, Garcia will consider having at least arthroscopic surgery.

"I still think I can come back," he said as he packed.

Perhaps — but sources indicate that the Phillies are making no plans that include him.

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