Fernando Salas makes a "don't make me come back there" face during every pitch. - Dilip Vishwanat
A St. Louis Cardinals pitcher will play for Team Mexico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but it's not the one you were worried about. Probably.
Team Mexico will take a St. Louis Cardinals pitcher to the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but it's not the one everybody was worried about—change-up artist and occasional closer Fernando Salas is in, while shoulder-rehabber and occasional pariah Jaime Garcia is out, according to provisional rosters released Thursday. Salas joins fellow set-up man Mitchell Boggs in the WBC on a Mexican roster paced by Sergio Romo and Yovani Gallardo on the staff and Adrian Gonzalez and Danny Espinosa in the lineup.
Even without the injury concerns, Garcia is going down the kind of career path that leads to calls for a Change of Scenery trade—for a third year in a row his peripherals improved, and for a third year in a row his ERA went up. It seems clear that he's a solidly above-average pitcher, but last year he was unable to demonstrate that in his results.
Which probably has something to do with the passive-aggressive way his injury has been handled in the organization. When he tried to pitch in the NLCS he was accused not of being insufficiently tough but of being insufficiently forthcoming about his shoulder pain; when he announced he would try to pitch for Team Mexico in the 2013 WBC GM John Mozeliak responded with expert passive-aggression.
So here's to Fernando Salas getting a chance to represent his country in the World Baseball Classic, and here's to Jaime Garcia not doing anything else to piss off the Cardinals organization, even though I'm skeptical the WBC has anything to do with early-season injury and ineffectiveness. At least Garcia won't be another correlation-not-causation data point in that crusade.