The St. Louis Cardinals have a seemingly bottomless pool of talented options for their pitching staff and starting rotation. Even with that being the case, they can ill-afford to lose a top starting pitcher this early in camp.
Jaime Garcia, who has struggled with injuries the last couple seasons, thought he was ready to go at camp after having surgery to repair the rotator cuff on his throwing shoulder. Unfortunately it’s not even March yet, and Garcia is already having trouble with the injury. Per Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Actually, the Cardinals’ lefthander mentioned discomfort in his surgically-repaired left shoulder following his third side session earlier in the week. The team postponed his first appearance against hitters. Then they scrubbed it. Now Garcia is heading to St. Louis for further examination.”
In his career Garcia is 39-25 with a 3.45 ERA. His absence, potentially into the regular season depending on how serious the issues are, will shift the pressure to young pitchers like Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller, and even Carlos Martinez if he can make his case in the competition for the rotation.
It’s an embarrassment of riches, to be sure, but that doesn’t mean this blow is not significant for the Cardinals. As a left-handed starter with such early success in his career, a healthy Garcia would have significantly bolstered the Cardinals’ chances for success in 2014.