The St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday removed Jaime Garcia from their division series roster, a day after he lasted only two innings in his Game 2 start against the Washington Nationals because of an ailing shoulder.
An MRI exam revealed that the left-hander has a strained rotator cuff and inflammation in his throwing shoulder. He’ll be replaced by rookie right-hander Shelby Miller.
Garcia’s health was a concern after he sat out two months because of shoulder fatigue, but he had pitched well since returning in mid-August and won his last three regular-season starts. He said he had experienced some “normal stiffness” from those late-season games, but the feeling in the shoulder was different when he took the mound Monday.
“We’re in the playoffs,” Garcia said. “I want to be there for my team. I want to be able to help out, but I just realized that once the game started it never got better. I never got warm, and I had to say something. I made the decision. I said something at the right time, and we still won the game. It was a really hard decision for me to say something.”
The Cardinals’ 12-4 victory tied the series at one game apiece. Game 3 is Wednesday in Washington.
Manager Mike Matheny dismissed suggestions that Garcia should have spoken up about a possible problem before starting such a crucial game.
“He went back and forth just like every guy does,” Matheny said. “You don’t know exactly how you’re going to feel until you get out there. There are times you don’t feel good, and I know that we have had some pitchers wondering if they can make pitch one, and next thing you know they are standing on top of the mound in the eighth inning.
“I respect these guys’ preparation that they have going into a game, how they push through things, and try and make something out of nothing at times. If you waited around until you felt perfect, you would never play this game.”
Lance Lynn, who pitched three innings in relief and picked up the Game 2 victory, will take Garcia’s spot in the rotation if the Cardinals advance to the next round.
Miller, one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, appeared in six games this season as a September call-up. He had a 1.32 earned-run average in 132/3 innings.
Rangers holding off on offer to Josh Hamilton
Jon Daniels, general manager of the Texas Rangers, told mlb.com that the club will not make an offer to Josh Hamilton before the outfielder becomes a free agent after the World Series.
“We’re not going to make a kind of preemptive proposal at this point,” Daniels said. “I think that effectively what we decided internally and agreed on with Josh and his representatives during the spring was that was the process — we’re going to let it play out. If you put yourself in his shoes, if you;ve got this far, you’re going to test the market, find out what’s out there. I think that’s understandable.”
Hamilton has said the Rangers will get the first chance at re-signing him. He said Friday after the Rangers lost to Baltimore in the American League wild-card game that there was a 50% chance he would return to Texas.
“It was one of those thing where I’ll go home and spend some time with the family and figure out what’s going on and enjoy them right now, then think about what’s going to transpire from here on,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton batted .285 with 43 home runs and 128 runs batted in for the Rangers. It was his fifth season with the club.