(BaseballStL) — The return of Jaime Garcia has added a consistent lefty threat to an already vaunted Cardinal rotation.
The 27-year-old has rebounded well from shoulder problems that kept him sidelined for a year, and has a 3-0 record in six games to show for it.
“He’s throwing well. We just want to keep him rolling and keep him strong,” Mike Matheny said.
Allowing just 16 earned runs in 38.2 innings, he continues to raise his strikeout count and post consistently deep starts.
After debuting with a seven inning start on May 18, Garcia reached that mark three out of his next five outings. With a bullpen that has been overworked in the early parts of the season, that sort of longevity to starts has been welcome.
Still, coming back from shoulder surgery can be a tricky thing. Ace Adam Wainwright, who like Garcia has gone through Tommy John, observed previously that elbows are bad, but shoulders can ruin careers.
Garcia remains strong so far, and recently reached the 100 pitch in back-to-back outings.
“When he feels right, and his body is cooperating, he’s been extremely effective,” Matheny said of the lefty’s career. “This isn’t a fluke. We believe this is the kind of pitcher that when he’s healthy he’s normally going to be.”
When he’s healthy.
The story of Garcia’s promising career has been marred time and again by chapters of injury, setbacks and recovery time. To combat the chance of similar chapters being written again, the club has kept an eye on their starter’s body; keeping open the possibility that he may skip a start much like they did to protect Michael Wacha.
“We don’t rule anybody out. If we’re going to give Adam a start off we’ll give anybody one,” Matheny said. “If we’re watching and something doesn’t look right and we’re in a situation where we have somebody ready to go and take that start we won’t hesitate.”
Garcia makes his seventh start Friday night against the Phillies.