The St. Louis Cardinals announced that they have removed Jaime Garcia from the National League Divisional Series roster for the remainder of the series. In his place, the team will add Shelby Miller. This means that Garcia is ineligible to play in the National League Championship Series, should the team advance past the Washington Nationals.
After Monday evening’s game Garcia received an MRI exam. Tuesday that exam revealed inflammation and a rotator cuff strain in his throwing shoulder. Garcia will receive a second opinion on his shoulder on Thursday. At that point, the team and Garcia will begin a plan to get him back on the field.
Garcia threw two innings in Monday’s Game 2 of the NLDS in St. Louis. He allowed 1 run on 2 hits and 3 walks. After his second inning of work, he confessed to manager Mike Matheny and the team’s managers that he had been having issues that he couldn’t pitch through. The team made the move for Lance Lynn to take over in the game, which may have already been the plan.
He had shoulder issues earlier this season, leaving a June 5th game in Houston after just two innings. He returned on August 19th in Busch Stadium throwing 8 innings allowing no earned runs. After his return he was hit or miss, but ultimately turned in a 3.25 ERA. However, he said that it was different than the issues he had earlier this year.
Taking his place will be Shelby Miller who struggled early this season in Memphis. He performed well enough in the second half to earn a call up to St. Louis. He got a chance to make his starting debut on the final day of the season, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning against the Cincinnati Reds, the Cardinals’ likely opponent if they win their NLDS.
Taking Garcia’s place in the future rotation will likely be Lance Lynn, who has pitched in both Games 1 and 2 in relief. However, given that the next start by that spot in the rotation is against Cincinnati and seeing how he dominated them last time around, I would go with Shelby Miller starting that game. But the Cardinals’ organization doesn’t like to start young pitchers in the rotation.
I have the suspicion that Garcia will be receiving surgery this offseason to correct his issues. That probably means that he will miss the beginning of the season, opening up a spot in the Opening Day rotation for one of the young pitchers. After that it will be interesting to see where the Cardinals put him. I’ve been arguing for several months now that he needs to be in the bullpen.