For every Garcia and Colon, there are plenty that don't make it. Mark Prior has been trying to return to the majors since he last appeared for the Cubs in 2006. Chris Young looked like he made it back successfully from his arm woes until he re-tore the anterior capsule muscle in his pitching shoulder, ruining his 2011 season. For this discussion, I won't include pitchers who are coming off single operations such as Johan Santana and Aaron Cook. (I will next year if they have no impact in the 2012 season.)
Colon, who missed the 2010 season and had only pitched in 48 games in the four seasons prior to that finished with a 9-10 record and a 4.00 ERA in 29 games (26 starts) for the Yankees. His 7.4 K per 9 IP was his best ratio since 2001. Garcia, in spite of pitching very well for the Yankees last season, was a bigger story in 2010 with the Chicago White Sox. After pitching a total of 23 games from 2007-2009, Garcia went 12-8 in 28 starts for the White Sox after his career was considered to be over.
Chin Ming Wang seems to be ready to pitch on a full time basis for the 2012 season. After a freak injury derailed his 2008 season, he pitched just 12 games in 2009. He seems to have recovered by going 4-3 with a 4.04 ERA in 11 starts with the Nationals. They rewarded him by signing him to a $4 million contract for this season. Rich Harden, despite almost making it back for the 2008 and 2009 seasons, has struggled to stay on the field the two prior and subsequent seasons. Often injured Ben Sheets may be looking to come back after missing two of the last three seasons. And how about a comeback for Jeremy Bonderman, since he is only 29?
I'm sure there are many other pitchers in the same situation. But its nice to see a story like that becoming common every year. Who will be the story of 2012?