Richard Alan Garcés Mendoza, Jr. [gar-CESS] (born May 18, 1971 in Maracay, Venezuela) is a former right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball, currently a minor league pitcher for the Nashua Pride of the Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball. Nicknamed "El Guapo" (The handsome one), he played with the Minnesota Twins (1990, 1993), Chicago Cubs (1995), Florida Marlins (1995) and Boston Red Sox (1996-2002).
Garces was signed by Minnesota as an amateur free agent in 1987. After stints with the Twins, Cubs and Marlins, he pitched for the Red Sox, turning into one of the American League's premier setup men. He attained a cult status with Red Sox fans, as much for his girth as his performance. His weight was listed at 215 lbs, although it was undoubtedly significantly more. The Red Sox asked Garcés to lose weight over an off-season, which he did. His numbers were never the same after that, however, leading many to believe the drastic weight loss negatively affected his mechanics.
In 1999, Garcés posted a 5-1 record with 33 strikeouts, a 1.55 earned run average, and two saves, and earned one victory against the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series. This was followed with a mark of 8-1, 69 SO, 3.25 ERA, and one save in 2000.
Although only 31 years old in 2002, Garcés' performance displayed a much-weakened arm strength. After his disappointing ERA of 7.59 in 21 innings, he was released by Boston. On January 22, 2003, he signed with the Colorado Rockies as a free agent, but he was released in March 2003 before the regular season started.
In a ten-year career, Garcés compiled a 23-10 record with a 3.74 ERA, seven saves, 53 holds, 296 strikeouts, 164 walks, and 341-1/3 innings pitched in 287 games, holding opponents to a .227 batting average.
In June 2005, Garcés signed a minor league contract with the Red Sox, pitched in the Gulf Coast League for the Gulf Coast Red Sox. He was released in October 2005. He is currently a relief pitcher for the Nashua Pride of the independent Can-Am League.
Garcés played for the Venezuelan Professional Winter League in 2006, finishing 3-1 with 11 saves and a 2.31 ERA in 24 appearances for the Aguilas del Zulia. Based on this performance, Garcés signed a contract in February 2007 to pitch for the Nashua Pride with the hope of working his way back to the major leagues.
Full article ▸