Little did I know when I watched St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia’s 80-pitch simulated game on Tuesday (when the above photo was taken) that it may be his last mound appearance for some time.
The left-hander had seemingly been ahead of schedule in his recovery from thoracic outlet surgery last season and shoulder surgery the year before and was scheduled to start on Sunday, apparently on his way to claiming the fifth spot in the Cardinals rotation.
However, that all changed on Saturday, when the oft-injured hurler notified the team of discomfort in his pitching arm. Garcia was scratched from his Sunday start in favor of Marco Gonzales, who had been scheduled to piggyback Saturday starter Lance Lynn.
The 28-year-old is dealing with arm fatigue in the area between his biceps and shoulder, general manager John Mozeliak told MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch.
The club has shut Garcia down, making it likely he will open the season on the disabled list rather than starting every fifth day.
"Slowing down right now is not a good time to slow down,” manager Mike Matheny told Langosch. “Everything was going in a positive direction, and we were moving within the right time frame to have him ready. Now we have to put on the brakes."
Garcia’s spring apparently ends with a 3.86 ERA and 13/3 K/BB ratio in 9 1/3 innings over his three official starts. Over the last two seasons, he was able to take the ball in just 16 starts. 2015 is the final guaranteed year of Garcia’s current contract, during which he is scheduled to make $9.25 million.
The Cardinals final rotation spot now appears to be a competition between Carlos Martinez and Gonzales.
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