Jun 8, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia (54) gets ready to throw a ball in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The St. Louis Cardinals won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Jaime Garcia to undergo thoracic outlet surgery, out for season

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St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jaime Garcia will miss the remainder of the 2014 season after undergoing thoracic outlet surgery, the team announced Saturday. It was previously rumored that the team was considering this option, and now it’s been confirmed by GM John Mozeliak.

Placed on the 15-day disabled list last month, Garcia’s lengthy issues with staying healthy have kept him off the mound constantly. By the end of the 2014 season, he’ll have made just 36 starts over the past three years, including 16 in the past two. “He’s been a hard guy to count on,” Mozeliak said Saturday.

A few years ago, Garcia looked to be one of the top young pitchers in baseball, but he’s just the latest reminder of how fragile those players can be.

In 2010, Garcia finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting after going 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA, 132 strikeouts and 64 walks over 163.1 innings with the Cardinals. A year later, he went 13-7 with a 3.56 ERA, 156 strikeouts and 50 walks over 194.2 innings.

At that point, Garcia looked positioned to be at the front of the Cardinals’ rotation for years, but instead he’s spent more time on the disabled list than on the mound. This latest surgery, which often involves the removal of the first rib in order to relieve pressure in the area, will prevent him from pitching again until 2015.

It’s a major blow for St. Louis, which sits four games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates for first place in the NL Central despite making up some ground in the past few days. The Cardinals could use a steady fifth starter behind Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn and Shelby Miller.

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