Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/3/12

Freddy Garcia's first go-around in the New York Yankees rotation was a mess. Based on his outing Monday, his second shot looks to be off to a solid start.

Garcia allowed two runs on five hits, striking out four batters without issuing a walk in a no-decision as the Yankees lost 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays.

"I need to step up," Garcia said. "We've got a couple of guys hurt. I want to do good. That's all, man. I want to pitch good. I've got the chance again, and I want to take my opportunity to prove I can be in the starting rotation."

With CC Sabathia out until after the All-Star break and Andy Pettitte likely out until September, Garcia will likely get a shot to cement his spot for the foreseeable future.

Garcia went 0-2 with a 12.51 ERA in four starts in April, then turned things around in the bullpen (2-0, 1.56 ERA in 17 1/3 innings) before posting a solid effort Monday night.

"He could be a huge luxury for us," manager Joe Girardi said. "We saw what he did last year; Freddy pitched extremely well. If he can sub in, it would be great."

Garcia's two mistakes Monday came in the form of solo home runs by B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena, the latter of which tied the game at 2 in the sixth inning. Still, Garcia was pleased with his performance, giving him something to build on for his next start, Saturday at Fenway Park.

"It's been so long in the bullpen," Garcia said. "I threw pretty good. I made a couple of mistakes and paid for them. I'm looking forward to my next start."

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