Jaime Garcia injury: Mitchell Boggs's return and the St. Louis Cardinals' replacements

Is this a weird angle or a weird mechanical fluke? - Dilip Vishwanat

As it turns out, Jaime Garcia is not healthy.

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:

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:

Year Age W L W-L% ERA GS IP H R ER HR BB SO ERA+ H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2010 23 13 8 .619 2.70 28 163.1 151 64 49 9 64 132 143 8.3 0.5 3.5 7.3 2.06
2011 24 13 7 .650 3.56 32 194.2 207 100 77 15 50 156 104 9.6 0.7 2.3 7.2 3.12
2012 25 7 7 .500 3.92 20 121.2 136 58 53 7 30 98 98 10.1 0.5 2.2 7.2 3.27
2013 26 5 2 .714 3.58 9 55.1 57 26 22 6 15 43 105 9.3 1.0 2.4 7.0 2.87
5 Yrs 39 25 .609 3.45 90 551.0 565 258 211 41 167 437 111 9.2 0.7 2.7 7.1 2.62

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.

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