Garcia to undergo surgery, ending his season

ST. LOUIS — Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia (5-2, 3.58
ERA), who had been placed on the DL on Sunday with shoulder soreness, will
have surgery to repair a torn labrum and will miss the rest of the season, the team announced on Wednesday.

It’s a frustrating turn for Cardinals pitching. As recently as May 12, they were flying high. At that time, the team’s five starters (Adam Wainwright, Garcia, Lance Lynn, Jake Westbrook and Shelby Miller) were hot and landed on the Sports Illustrated cover. But before that magazine cover could even publish, St. Louis has been humbled.

Call it the SI jinx if you’d like, or call it a coincidence, but two of the five pitchers featured in that photo are now off the mound.

Garcia has no chance of returning this season. And Westbrook (2-1, 1.62 ERA) continues his attempt to get off the DL (elbow inflammation) but has already had his return pushed back once.

“That’s the thing about baseball,” Wainwright said at the time. “As soon as you think you have it figured out, it humbles you.”

Rookie lefty John Gast was the plug for Wesbtrook’s departure. Gast, a 24-year-old call-up from Triple-A Memphis, has delivered — so far. He’s 2-0 in two starts with a 4.76 ERA. How long he lasts in each start is something to look at, though. He has pitched just 11 1/3 total innings in two starts combined.

Now another rookie will be dropped in to keep the Cardinals’ starting rotation atop the charts. When Garcia went on the ropes, the Cardinals promoted lefty Tyler Lyons. Now that Garcia is gone for good, Lyons will try to stick around. The Cardinals announced Wednesday that Lyons’ contract has been purchased from Triple-A, and little-used Fernando Salas has been placed on the DL with shoulder inflammation.

Lyons will get a chance to show his stuff for the first time tonight, when the Cardinals play at San Diego. It will be up to him, as well as Gast, to make sure this dose of humble pie is something easy to swallow.

Meanwhile, Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter — who was at one time expected to be forced into retirement due to the nerve problem that limited him to just three starts last season — continues to write his comeback story. Yet while the “highly unlikely to pitch again” tag that Carpenter himself applied before the start of the season has long since been removed due to the pitcher’s increasing bullpen sessions, he has not yet reached the point of his return.

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