Jaime Garcia shut down with shoulder discomfort
Jaime Garcia will travel back to St. Louis on Sunday to have an MRI on his left shoulder, which has began to bother the lefty starter again this week during his bullpen sessions. Even if the MRI comes back clean, this setback likely won’t leave Garcia enough time to get himself ready by the first week of the regular season.
That means an eight-man competition for five starting spots has, for the time being, been reduced to seven.
The resurfacing shoulder discomfort is a discouraging development for Garcia, who reported to Spring Training relieved to be healthy again. After pitching through shoulder pain in 2012-13, Garcia chose to address the issue with season-ending surgery last May. He hoped that would allow him to come into this season uninhibited.
The surgery, which was performed by Cardinals team physician George Paletta, fixed a tear in Garcia’s rotator cuff and labrum. Garcia began the throwing portion of his rehab process late in the season and was actually far enough along to throw live batting practice in October.
That allowed Garcia to follow a normal offseason program, which he completed without issue. Garcia had thrown three bullpen sessions since the start of Spring Training and was scheduled for a fourth on Saturday. That was postponed indefinitely when Garcia alerted the medical staff to the discomfort.
“It’s just been something where he hasn’t felt quite right the last 48 hours,” general manager John Mozeliak explained. “From a medical standpoint, no one thought it was that serious. But it wasn’t improving. And given how early it is in camp, there’s no reason to try and work through some thing if it might be something if it might be larger. We think it’s just better to get some resolution and have him seen back in St. Louis.”
The Cardinals expect to publically announce the results of the exam on Monday afternoon.
Asked if he had a gut feeling on what Paletta may find, Mozeliak said: “I feel like it’s always best to react once you sort of know all the facts.”
The Cardinals, who have lost a key member of their pitching staff each of the last three Spring Trainings, are seemingly set up well to handle Garcia’s absence. Adam Wainwright remains the ace of the rotation and some four-man combination of Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez and Tyler Lyons will follow him.
Lyons is the only lefty in that bunch, though manager Mike Matheny said it is not imperative that the season open with a southpaw in the rotation. The Cardinals pitched most of the second half of last season with a rotation of right-handers.
“Obviously, when you think about all the talk and banter about how much pitching we have, it certainly shows you that you might not have enough,” Mozeliak said. “It definitely helps to have that depth to tap into.”
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