Garcia getting closer to returning

The Cardinals may not acquire a starting pitcher through trade by Tuesday's deadline, but they could have one on the way in a couple of weeks.


Left-hander Jaime Garcia, who had been shut down because of a tear in his shoulder, faced 10 batters Monday while pitching 2 1/3 innings for the Cardinals' Gulf Coast League club in Jupiter, Fla. Garcia allowed four hits but no runs and struck out one.


Garcia is 3-4 with a 4.48 earned run average in 11 starts this season for the Cardinals.


He had difficulty in his last couple of starts, finally allowed that something in his shoulder didn't feel right and went on the disabled list in early June. He opted not to have surgery but to try to heal the issue with rest and rehabilitation.


If Garcia would return to the rotation, impressive rookie Joe Kelly could slide into a slot in the bullpen, which still could use some help. By the time Garcia would return, his time on the 60-day disabled list would have elapsed.



-- SS Rafael Furcal, who missed the final two games of the weekend series in Chicago because of back spasms, might be able to return to the lineup on Tuesday at Colorado. But the veteran, who has tailed off markedly in the last six weeks or so, will be watched closely the rest of the way. "I want to stay off the (disabled) list," Furcal. "That's no good for anybody."


-- 3B David Freese, who had missed two games because of a right calf strain, played with a bit of discomfort on Sunday but had two hits and extended his hitting streak to 10 games. Freese should be better after a day off on Monday.


-- RHP Kyle Lohse, scheduled to pitch against Colorado on Tuesday night, has worked at least seven innings in eight of his last nine starts. In the other one, he lasted six innings, and now he will have an extra day of rest.


-- When RHP Trevor Rosenthal allowed a game-losing homer to Chicago 1B Anthony Rizzo on Sunday, it ended a streak of 19 2/3 scoreless innings for the bullpen. The relievers haven't been overused because the starters have lasted six or more innings in 23 of the Cardinals' last 24 games.


-- C Yadier Molina has played in 86 of the club's first 102 games. His career high of 140 games was achieved in 2009.


BY THE NUMBERS: 54-48 -- Cardinals' record after 102 games in both 2011 and 2012.


QUOTE TO NOTE: "What's frustrating is we're a championship team -- we know we're a championship team -- and we haven't played like it." -- 2B/OF Skip Schumaker