Dodgers release veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia from minor league contract.

Freddy Garcia

Freddy Garcia, cut by the Braves in spring training, went on to throw 160 innings for EDA Rhinos of the Chinese league last year. (Getty Images)

When the Dodgers signed Freddy Garcia to a minor league contract in March, it might have carried less risk than any of their dozens of pre-season acquisitions. When they released him Wednesday, it was easy to miss.

Garcia had only pitched two-thirds of an inning for Oklahoma City the last six days. His performance in four Triple-A games (7.36 ERA, .286/.353/.500 opponents’ slash line) was certainly not encouraging.

Garcia, 38, spent last season in Taiwan after a 15-year major league career. He had never relieved, but there was no room for him in an Oklahoma City rotation that included Scott Baker, Zach Lee, David Huff, Joe Wieland, occasionally Carlos Frias and until Wednesday Mike Bolsinger.

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Poll: Who should start for the Dodgers on Thursday?


Brett Anderson will start for the Dodgers today in the first game of a three-game series in San Francisco against the Giants (7 p.m., SportsNet LA). Clayton Kershaw starts Wednesday.

Thursday’s starter remains TBA as of this writing.

It might be Zack Greinke, but Don Mattingly was weighing his options from the minor-league ranks over the weekend. The last time the Dodgers needed a fifth starter was last Tuesday. David Huff got the call at the last minute. Huff gave up four runs in four innings against what was supposed to be a matchup-friendly Seattle Mariners lineup, then was designated for assignment after the game.

So the decision on Thursday is far from straightforward, particularly if Mattingly is intent on giving Greinke an extra day of rest. The poll question is up. read on for a bit more on each candidate:

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Dodgers option Carlos Frias to Triple-A after a long 24 hours.

Carlos FriasDodgers pitcher Carlos Frias said he went to bed Tuesday night believing he would start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

Surprise!

Frias learned Wednesday morning that he had been recalled to take the roster spot of pitcher David Huff, who was designated for assignment after Tuesday’s game. He flew from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles and did not arrive until 4:30 p.m. He wasn’t able to stretch with his teammates on the field.

“Very long day,” he said.

Thursday, Frias was optioned back to Triple-A.

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Dodgers sign Freddy Garcia to minor-league deal.

Freddy Garcia

Freddy Garcia, cut by the Braves in spring training, went on to throw 160 innings for EDA Rhinos (Taiwan) last year. (Getty Images)

The Dodgers have signed veteran pitcher Freddy Garcia to a minor-league contract.

Garcia, 38, hasn’t pitched in the majors since he appeared in 17 games (13 starts) for two teams in 2013. Garcia’s last appearance, coincidentally, came against the Dodgers for the Atlanta Braves in the 2013 National League Division Series.

Garcia spent last season in Taiwan pitching for the EDA Rhinos, the same team that once employed Manny Ramirez. Garcia’s salary with the Rhinos reportedly set a record for the league previously held by Ramirez.

Garcia’s stat line last year in Taiwan:

25 G, 25 GS, 11-9, 1 CG, 160 IP, 172 H, 20 BB, 108 K, 3.186 ERA, 1.19 WHIP

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Daily Distractions: Several major-leaguers implicated in PED report; Suck, Schmidt and Sax.

Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez’s HCG supplier, Tony Bosch, has a long list of clients in professional sports, according to a report today in the Miami New Times. (AP photo)

Just in case a small patch of your thick skin still hasn’t numbed to the idea that some professional athletes use performancing-enhancing drugs, the Miami New Times reported today that Alex Rodriguez, Yasmani Grandal, Gio Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon and Nelson Cruz are listed as clients of a Miami clinic that distributes illegal PEDs.

Rodriguez and Gonzalez – whose father did admit to purchasing weight-loss products from the clinic – have already denied any connection to the clinic’s former proprietor, Tony Bosch.

Major League Baseball will have the final say. The league is investigating the matter and suspensions could be levied if the apparent PED use can be proven. Cabrera, Colon and Grandal were all suspended 50 games for violating MLB’s drug policy at some point last year. Gonzalez, Rodriguez and Cruz have never been penalized for PED use.

Regardless of the outcome, this story represents another wrinkle in the never-ending game of cat and mouse that exists among athletes seeking an edge, the PED suppliers who enable them, and the sports and government authorities charged with policing this activity.

Even if you’re numb to this plot, give it a read. The level of journalism is excellent, and there’s tremendous value in weeding out another hub for illegal drug distribution – regardless of whether the clientele is famous or not.

There is a Dodgers connection. You might recall Bosch’s name from 2010, when Manny Ramirez was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball for testing positive for the women’s fertility drug HCG. Bosch’s clinic was the supplier of Ramirez’s HCG.

As the author, Tim Elfrink, concludes: “Indeed, there are two patterns to the names of athletes in Bosch’s records: (1) Most have direct ties to Miami and often to the UM Hurricanes baseball program, and (2) a number have already been caught doping — which suggests that either Bosch isn’t particularly gifted at crafting drugs that can beat performance tests or his clients aren’t careful.”

Onto the links:

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