St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak announced following Sunday’s game that the team will be placing starting pitchers Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha on the disabled list with shoulder injuries.
Unfortunately, the announcement on Garcia was anything but a shock considering his previous injury history. Following several years of issues, Garcia had surgery in early 2013 to repair his left shoulder, and after extensive rehab which included several setbacks, he returned to the mound on May 18. There seemed to always be some doubt, however, that he would be able to get through the season without having it act up on him again.
Wacha suffered a “stress reaction” in the scapula of his shoulder, which is not a common injury among pitchers, but is seen as a precursor to a stress fracture in the shoulder. He’ll be shut down and allowed to rest, and while Mozeliak didn’t put a timetable on his return, it did not sound like it would be a short-term period of rest. While it hurts the Cards greatly to lose him, allowing him to rest is definitely the safest move, especially considering how aggressively he’s progressed, moving from being Texas A&M’s Friday night starter in mid-2012 to now being a front-of-the-rotation starter in the big leagues.
With these developments, Carlos Martinez will stick in the rotation indefinitely, following two spot starts within the past week for Adam Wainwright and Wacha. The Cardinals have yet to announce who will fill the other vacancy, and when asked about the issue on Sunday Mozeliak said “I have not made any decision”. Tyler Lyons could be a candidate and is the only minor-league starter who is currently on the 40-man roster. Other candidates could include Tim Cooney and Angel Castro, who have both been solid at Memphis, or Nick Greenwood, who has limited starting experience but has shown the ability to go long and has had recent success at the big-league level.
Righthander Joe Kelly is coming closer to a return from a hamstring injury he suffered in April, so the second rotation vacancy would probably not be a spot that needs to be filled for more than a few starts. Kelly will have to build up his endurance again, but should be able to slide back into the rotation with relative ease.