Red Sox claim righty reliever Justin Garza off waivers from Angels

The Red Sox have claimed right-hander Justin Garza off waivers from the Angels and optioned him to Triple-A Worcester, the club announced earlier Friday afternoon. A corresponding move was not needed since Boston had an open spot on its 40-man roster.

Garza, 29, was designated for assignment by the Angels last week after not appearing in a game for Los Angeles to start the 2023 season. The righty instead began the year in Triple-A Salt Lake after being optioned there last month. In six relief appearances for the Bees, he posted a 4.32 ERA with five strikeouts to four walks over 8 1/3 innings of work.

A native of California, Garza was originally selected by the Guardians in the eighth round of the 2015 amateur draft out of Cal State Fullerton. He spent six years in Cleveland’s minor-league system before making his major-league debut in June 2021.

With the Guardians (then the Indians), Garza forged a 4.71 ERA and 5.30 FIP to go along with 29 strikeouts to 18 walks in 21 appearances (28 2/3 innings). He was outrighted off Cleveland’s 40-man roster that November and spent the entirety of the 2022 campaign with Triple-A Columbus before reaching free agency last winter.

Garza signed a split deal with the Angels in December, but his stay in Los Angeles proved to be a short one. He lost his spot on the Halos’ 40-man roster after veteran catcher Chad Wallach and fellow reliever Austin Warren had their contracts selected from Salt Lake last Friday.

Listed at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, Garza operates with a five-pitch mix that consists of a sinker, a cutter, a slider, a changeup, and a four-seam fastball, per Baseball Savant. For his career at the Triple-A level — which spans three seasons — Garza owns a lifetime 3.67 ERA with 86 strikeouts to 36 walks in 57 outings spanning 72 2/3 innings of relief.

With that, Garza should provide the Red Sox with some experienced bullpen depth in Worcester. He has three minor-league options remaining and is only on the hook for the major-league minimum.

By adding Garza via waivers, Boston’s 40-man roster is now at full capacity.

(Picture of Justin Garza: Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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