Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rain Doesn't Deter Cards' Plan to Start Garcia

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rain Doesn't Deter Cards' Plan to Start Garcia

Article excerpt

When a pitch struck the surgically relocated nerve on the inside of his left elbow earlier this month and his pitching arm went numb for 10 minutes, Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia had his Murphy's Law moment on the way to the hospital.

"Couldn't move my arm. Couldn't feel it," he recalled Wednesday. "It was a pretty scary situation on the way to the hospital. I was thinking it was going to be something else. With 24 hours, it was a huge change, a thousand times better."

What could have been a setback was only a delay.

When the rain came Wednesday and washed out the Cardinals' game against the Cubs, it could have been all the excuse the club needed to keep Garcia in the minors for another rehab start and another chance to up his pitch count. The opportunity to push him back was there. They have decided not to take it. What could have sent him back instead will only be a delay.

Garcia, 27, is set to make his return to the rotation Sunday, one day after the anniversary of his most recent start for the Cardinals. If the lefty completes a bullpen session today at Busch Stadium without difficulty, manager Mike Matheny said he'll start vs. Atlanta.

"We need him to give us a chance to compete," Matheny said.

The threat and eventual arrival of ornery storms Wednesday night forced the postponement of Wednesday's game against the Cubs to Aug. 30. The two teams, scheduled to resume the current series this afternoon at Busch Stadium, will play a day-night doubleheader Aug. 30 as part of the Cubs' final visit this summer to St. Louis. Tickets purchased for Wednesday's game will be good for the first game on that Saturday in August, though the exact start times are to be determined.

The Cardinals confirmed before the rainout that Garcia would start Saturday's game, when a fifth starter was needed. But they could have used the rainout to reset the rotation and skip the fifth starter for a week. With a rainout Wednesday and an off day Monday, the Cardinals could have returned Garcia, who was in St. Louis on Wednesday, to Class AAA for a rehab start Saturday. That would have allowed him to build his pitch count to 90 in a game that didn't influence the standings, and offer one last test of sharpness for the lefty.

Instead, the rainout just pushes every starter back a day from Michael Wacha going today to Garcia staying in the majors to throw Sunday.

"I think the rest right now will do everybody good," Matheny said.

Garcia went 5-2 with a 3.58 ERA in nine starts for the Cardinals last season. In his final start, May 17 against Milwaukee, he allowed six runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He has been limited to 29 starts the past two seasons for the same reason he didn't throw another pitch after that game, which he won. His left shoulder kept eroding on him. He described the pain in the final start as too much to pitch through, having already lessened the intensity of his between-start workouts and modified his mechanics to compensate for the soreness. …

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