You’re dating yourself if you admit to remembering when Freddy Garcia pitched at Smith-Wills Stadium. Hillary Clinton’s husband was president, “Saving Private Ryan” hit the theaters and the second Harry Potter book was published. It was 1998. Garcia, who’ll be 42 in April, is still out there pitching. On Saturday, in Guadalajara, Mexico, he started for Venezuela in its 15-4 win against the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Series. Garcia threw four shutout innings before running into trouble in the fifth, when he had to leave one out shy of qualifying for the win. The big right-hander was a standout for the ’98 Jackson Generals before Houston sent him to Seattle as part of the big Randy Johnson trade. Garcia made the big leagues in 1999 and won 156 games, plus an ERA title, over 15 seasons. He last pitched in the majors for Atlanta in 2013, including a postseason start. … There are a handful of familiar names in the Caribbean Series, including former Mississippi Braves Christian Bethancourt (three hits for the D.R. on Saturday) and Joey Meneses (with Mexico). P.S. Southern Miss product Cody Carroll, who had a brilliant showing (0.00 ERA, four saves in 11 2/3 innings) in the Arizona Fall League after reaching Double-A last season, has received a non-roster invitation to the New York Yankees’ big league spring camp. Carroll, 25, was a 22nd-round draft pick in 2015.
Freddy Garcia, who has pitched all over the planet during his 39 years on it, was in Santo Domingo, D.R., on Monday. Yes, pitching. For Team Venezuela in the opener of the Caribbean Series. The former Jackson Generals right-hander – he went 6-7 with a 3.24 ERA in 1998 – worked six innings, allowed just four hits, a walk and a run and beat Puerto Rico 2-1. “It was like magic,” he told The Associated Press. With Daryle Ward having taken a minor league coaching job with Cincinnati, Garcia is the only ex-Gens player still going. He pitched briefly in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ system in 2015 and last toiled in the majors with Atlanta in 2013. He owns 156 MLB wins and 203 wins overall in a pro career that began in 1995, when Houston signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Also of note: The big hit for Venezuela was delivered by onetime Mississippi Braves outfielder Jose Martinez, who belted a two-run triple in the second inning. The 6-foot-7 Martinez batted .285 for the 2013 M-Braves.