Garcia strong in final exhibition vs. Nats minor leaguers -

Garcia strong in final exhibition vs. Nats minor leaguers

JUPITER, Fla (Baseball StL) -- It looked good.  No, wait.  It looked great.  But then again it would’ve been much bigger news had Jaime Garcia not pitched as effectively as he did against the Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium. 

The lefty went eight innings and gave up just one run on six hits.  He struck out eight with no walks.

He did all of this, however, against not a single starter from Washington.  The Nationals had a split squad game today, meaning they also had a matchup at home in Viera.  And manager Davey Johnson elected to have every single one of his starters remain at home while sending all minor leaguers to Jupiter to face the Cardinals.

Did the quality of the opposition bother Garcia?

“No. Not at all. I didn’t really care,” Garcia said. “I was just focusing on going out there and making my pitches and getting my pitch count up and I was able to do that.”

Mike Matheny agreed.

“We’ve taken some clubs where people are barking at me from the stands and I’ve got four of our starters out there,” Matheny said. “So maybe the fans have a different perspective of wanting to see the Nationals.  For us, our priority was getting Jaime his pitch count up and getting our guys one step closer.”

The Cardinals open the season Monday in Arizona against the Diamondbacks.

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