As it turns out, intense, unceasing skepticism about Jaime Garcia's shoulder turned out to be the right move. Garcia's back on the disabled list with a shoulder strain, which is bad, but this part is worse: He's worried about it. Surgery-worried. Jenifer Langosch:
Garcia said shoulder pain is worse this year than last. He's legitimately concerned about needing a procedure to address the issue.— Jenifer Langosch (@LangoschMLB) May 18, 2013
The amazing thing about Garcia is that his last two starts were exactly as bad as they needed to be to make sure that he continued to be Jaime Garcia. Take a look at his numbers to date, which is how they'll look on the baseball card if he needs surgery:
Injured or healthy, ball-in-play lucky or unlucky, it's seven strikeouts per nine innings, a solid K:BB ratio, and (not pictured) a high ground ball rate. (In fact, higher in his nine 2013 starts [1.75 per fly ball] than ever before.)
Which is why, I guess, I've always been (unjustifiably) optimistic about Garcia's health. His shoulder problems haven't yet pushed him out of the statistical profile that makes him an effective pitcher. Now he's hurt again and Scott Kazmir is throwing mid-90s fastballs, so what do I know?
His replacement on the roster is Mitchell Boggs, probably because Ryan Jackson did something truly despicable a few years ago and he knows what it is. Boggs walked five and struck out four in his six AAA appearances, but/and most of the trouble was in his last appearance, when he walked three and allowed two hits in the course of retiring one batter. Six relief appearances—well, that's for the scouts to figure out.
His replacement in the rotation might be Michael Wacha, but I'm at least as interested to see what the Cardinals plan on doing, in the medium term, with the three starters (Trevor Rosenthal, Seth Maness, Carlos Martinez) that are currently sitting in the bullpen.