Minors Injury Update – Jones, Wilson, Garceau

Several key Cardinals prospects have been noticeably absent in recently-published rosters and missing from early-season box scores. Here, we'll update the status of three such players – outfielder Daryl Jones and pitchers Shaun Garceau and Josh Wilson, all assigned to Johnson City.

Outfielder Daryl Jones, drafted in the third round of the June, 2005 First-Year Player Draft, had a spotty professional debut. In 61 games for rookie-level Johnson City, he hit .209, stealing 10 bases in 14 attempts. Still, the writers of stlcardinals.scout.com recognized the lefty as the number 15 prospect in the Cardinals system back in January.

Jones, who turned 19 last week, had been sidelined by a hamstring injury. According to Cardinals Manager of Baseball Operations John Vuch, Jones made quick progress in his recovery. "Jones is progressing well, and is now running at nearly 100% without restrictions, so it's likely that he could be activated before too much longer," says Vuch.

In fact, since we had that conversation late last week, Jones has been activated. In his first action, playing left field and batting in the lead-off spot for Johnson City on Monday, Jones went 1-for-3 with a double.

Such a quick return isn't going to be the case for the two starting pitchers, however.

Said Vuch, "Josh Wilson and Shaun Garceau are both on the 60-day DL for Johnson City - Wilson had surgery and is expected to be fine, but faces the usual lengthy rehab associated with shoulder surgery." He apparently had labrum damage.

Wilson, also 19, was selected in the second round (70th overall) of the June, 2005 Draft. He started 12 games for Johnson City last season, posting a 4.22 ERA, allowing 49 hits, striking out 32 and walking 23 in 53-1/3 innings. Prior to the season, the right-hander was ranked as the Cardinals' number 23 prospect by the staff of stlcardinals.scout.com.

Like Wilson, Shaun Garceau looks to be out for the season.

The 19-year-old came into his first training camp this spring looking to improve on his professional debut season of 2005. After being selected in the 20th round of the draft, Garceau started 12 games for Johnson City. The right-hander posted a 2-7 record with a 7.66 ERA, allowing 55 hits, striking out 42 and walking 23 in 44-2/3 innings.

"Garceau is unlikely to pitch in games this year, but could likely be ready by Instructional League, or almost certainly by next spring," Vuch said.

Vuch didn't offer much about the specifics of Garceau's situation, so we checked into his injury in more detail via the informal network. Here's what we learned.

Starting in early March, Garceau began to feel discomfort in his right thigh, specifically, the quadricep. He apparently tried to pitch thru through the pain and the Cardinals were hoping the injury would go away on its own as both parties wanted to avoid surgery.

Garceau had improved his velocity into the 92-94 MPH range and his confidence was growing, that is, until the pain was too great to continue.

The full nature of the root cause is not totally clear, but apparently it is a combination of a muscle tear/burst artery. The latter is allegedly the primary problem, as it caused leakage that was hard to drain, causing infection and other complications.

As a result, Garceau had two surgeries in the recent weeks on his leg. But, all is not lost. Once he is cleared via an MRI, he can hopefully start throwing soon; though as noted above, it will be a long road back.

Here's hoping Garceau maintains his positive outlook, regains his strength and becomes a factor in 2007. Same with Josh Wilson.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net. Leonda Markee also contributed to this report.

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