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Freddy Garcia, Icon SMI

Veteran right-hander Freddy Garcia chose the Mets over the Yankees because he felt it gave him the best opportunity to pitch, as the Mets still have not filled their final starting job. Even if the Mets sign one more starting pitcher, Garcia could still have a chance to make the starting rotation since the recently-signed Tim Redding has the versatility to pitch out of the bullpen.

While the Yankees still would appear to have one final unsettled spot in the rotation, as well, there's still a chance longtime Yankee Andy Pettitte could reverse course and grab that job, and Garcia apparently wondered about that possibility. The Mets are still trying to sign a starter, and are focusing mostly on their own free agent Oliver Perez, but there's no certainty they will be able to secure him. And even if Perez does re-sign with the Mets, Redding, who has a guaranteed $2.25-million contract (plus incentives), has the ability to pitch out of the bullpen.

There was no immediate word on the exact details of Garcia's contract but indications are that if he fulfills his incentives, it would exceed the $6.8 million Carl Pavano could make with Cleveland. (Pavano received a major league contract that guarantees him at least $1.5 million.) Garcia, who is 118-77 lifetime and was 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA after returning for Detroit last year, has had a few fits and starts while returning after shoulder surgery, but is said by people close to him to be healthy now.

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