Cardinals Major League Notebook: 07/03/10

Jaime Garcia bounced back from a tough start to blank the Milwaukee Brewers Friday night at Busch Stadium.


Left-handed rookie Jaime Garcia has had just one misstep in his first 16 starts. That came last Sunday in Kansas City when Garcia gave up five runs in two innings in a 10-3 loss.

But if that was his worst, Friday's game against Milwaukee was one of his best. Showing his best curveball of the season, Garcia retired the final 13 men he faced and allowed three hits while fanning seven over seven innings.

This was the 15th time Garcia had given up three earned runs or fewer in a start and the 13th time he had lasted at least six innings.

Garcia (8-4) has rare composure for someone who, after recovering from elbow surgery, worked only 37 2/3 innings in the minors last year. "(Composure) is part of how you're going to succeed in this league," said manager Tony La Russa. "It's not just stuff. You've got to keep your emotions intact because there are a lot of distractions, a lot of potentially up-and-down moments."

The only real mistake Garcia made was on the bases, when he reached second base in the fifth inning after he had lined a ball off the right-field wall. When Garcia arrived standing up, the ball was waiting for him as shortstop Alcides Escobar, who had deked him, applied the tag after Corey Hart had taken the ball off the wall.

"That's the best ball I ever hit," Garcia said. "I think I got a little bit too excited after I hit it. I wasn't thinking about running the bases yet."

CARDINALS 5, BREWERS 0: The Cardinals fired their eighth shutout of the season, backed by three hits from 3B Felipe Lopez, the leadoff man, and 2B Tyler Greene's 407-foot home run in his first game after being called up from Class AAA Memphis. LF Matt Holliday doubled twice, scoring one run and driving in another.


RHP Ryan Franklin, pitching for the first time since last Saturday and third time in two weeks, allowed two singles in the ninth but preserved the shutout. Franklin still has only 15 saves in only 16 opportunities. That first relatively low number is not his fault, but many All-Star candidates have had more opportunities and more saves and Franklin may not make his second All-Star team in succession. "There's nothing I can do about that," Franklin said. "Nothing wrong with going home and taking three days off."

RF Ryan Ludwick, feeling a twinge in his previously strained right calf as he exercised on the treadmill Friday afternoon, will be placed on the disabled list before Saturday night's game. Ludwick, who hadn't played in a week, said, "When I got to the park (Friday), I felt great; I told Tony (La Russa) that I felt like I might be able to pinch-hit. Then, when I was running on the treadmill, I aggravated it. I felt a little grab, so I shut it down right away. I don't think we're back to square one or anything, but I know it's not ready." Ludwick, who leads the National League hitting with runners in scoring position at .446, will join 3B David Freese (bone bruise, right ankle) and RHPs Brad Penny (strained upper back) and Kyle Lohse (forearm surgery) on the disabled list.

GM John Mozeliak said that Penny was showing enough progress that Penny might be ready after the All-Star break. If that was the case, Mozeliak said the Cardinals would try to fill the other starting pitching spot internally, even if Lohse isn't back until weeks later. Penny, who has had two bullpen sessions off the mound, is likely to face hitters Tuesday in a simulated-game situation in Colorado.

With the Cardinals no longer needing 13 pitchers, RH reliever Fernando Salas, though consistently impressive, once again was dispatched to Memphis and INF Tyler Greene, hitting .291 there, was brought up. Greene homered on his second at-bat after returning. He also had homered in his first game, on April 29, the first time he was up with the Cardinals this season.

C Yadier Molina, three for his last 47, took extra batting practice before the game for a third straight day. "I need to get better," said Molina.

Manager Tony La Russa has lauded Molina for his catching proficiency even though Molina hasn't been hitting. "I need to worry about my pitcher," said Molina. "I don't take my hitting to my catching."

By the Numbers:

4 - Number of interleague series won by the Cardinals this year out of the five they played.

Quote to Note:

"What more can he do?"

- Manager Tony La Russa after RHP Blake Hawksworth, a spot starter, worked five innings, giving up just two hits and one earned run, in beating Kansas City. It was the second big-league start for Hawksworth, who had been pulled from the bullpen.




Medical Watch:

RF Ryan Ludwick (strained left calf) left the June 22 game, and will be placed on the disabled list before the game on July 3.

RHP Chris Carpenter (bruised right forearm) was hit by a line drive June 28. He threw a bullpen session July 1, and he is expected to be ready for his July 3 start.

3B David Freese (bone bruise on right ankle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28.

RHP Kyle Lohse (right forearm strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 23, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 5. He had surgery May 28 to alleviate muscle discomfort. He played catch for the first time since the surgery June 28.

RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He threw in the bullpen for 20 minutes June 28 but will not return before the All-Star break.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories