In discussing the pending decisions for Washington's postseason roster, Nationals' skipper Davey Johnson told reporters in early October that there were two pitchers among the Nats' September call-ups who had really impressed over the final few weeks of the regular season. "The two guys that really jumped out at me are [Zack] Duke and [Christian] Garcia," Johnson said. Duke signed a minor league deal with Washington after he was released by the Houston Astros in late March of 2012. Garcia was signed as a minor league free agent in July of 2011 after six seasons in the New York Yankees' system and three surgical procedures (including Tommy John twice) on his right elbow.

Garcia's made a big splash in 2012. The hard-throwing 27-year-old right-hander started the year at Double-A Harrisburg, dominated at Triple-A Syracuse and debuted in the majors in September with 12.2 IP in which he walked two (1.42 BB/9) and K'd 15 (10.66 K/9). Duke, 29, was (15-5) with a 3.51 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 2.14 BB/9 and 4.98 K/9 in 26 games and 164.1 IP at Triple-A Syracuse before he was called to the nation's capital. In September in D.C., the veteran lefty worked out of the pen and had a 1.32 ERA, 2.51 FIP, 2.63 BB/9 and 6.59 K/9 over 13.2 IP.

Even with long man Tom Gorzelanny on the roster, Davey Johnson said he would consider keeping Duke around for the NLDS with the St. Louis Cardinals. "Yeah, I would," the manager told the reporter who asked, "although I've got [Mike] Gonzalez and [Sean] Burnett." Though he was impressed with Duke, the left-hander was left off the postseason roster. Garcia made the cut. The right-hander walked two and K'd two in his playoff debut in Game 2 in St. Louis. In Game 3, Garcia again walked two batters, gave up two hits and allowed one run while collecting two Ks in an inning of work. Though he worked out of the pen all year and then in D.C. when he was called up, the Nationals' skipper talked at the end of the season about possibly turning Garcia back into a starter in 2013.