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Garcia eager to make contribution to Nats


VIERA, Fla. -- Christian Garcia got such a taste of the Major Leagues as a September callup last season that he's eager to be a part of the club again this season -- in any capacity.

Garcia remains a question mark for the Nationals -- though a talented one -- with a spot as either a starter or a reliever entirely possible. Though he made a strong impression last season out of the bullpen and the rotation appears to be set -- with Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Ross Detwiler and the newly acquired Dan Haren -- the Nats have expressed interest in reverting him to a starter.

"I haven't gotten any concrete answer [as to] what exactly I'm doing, so I'm just coming into camp as a pitcher," Garcia said. "So whatever they want me to do -- start, relief -- I know they're going to extend me a little bit, they said, and have some innings … and stretch me out."

Garcia, 27, made his Major League debut on Sept. 4 and totaled 12 2/3 innings of work, allowing just three earned runs and striking out 15.

Garcia was drafted by the Yankees in 2004, then twice had Tommy John surgery (2007 and '10). Manager Davey Johnson and pitching coach Steve McCatty mentioned last year that a transformation could take place for Garcia this spring.

"It's exciting, more so for the opportunities," Garcia said. "Whether it's relieving or starting, it's an opportunity to win a job somewhere. Just the opportunity is all I want -- an opportunity to compete for a job. And that's what they're giving me. I've got to go into it and do my job. Do what I've got to do."

Garcia struck out 66 in 52 1/3 innings, with a 0.86 ERA, split between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse last season.

"Just seeing what [the Nationals] did this offseason, and the team that they brought back, that doing anything you can for this team in any way you can help, you just want to be a part of it," he said. "It's going to be a very special year."

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