ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 26: Starter Jaime Garcia #54 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches against the Philadelphia Phillies at Busch Stadium on May 26, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Jaime Garcia Injury: Shoulder Problem Sidelines St. Louis Cardinals Starter For A Month

The St. Louis Cardinals' Jaime Garcia will miss at least a month after doctors discovered an impingement in his left shoulder.

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Jaime Garcia Injury: Shoulder Impingement Could Sideline St. Louis Cardinals Starter Until August

The St. Louis Cardinals could be without their most dependable starter this season until August, after receiving news that the shoulder injury bothering Jaime Garcia is an impingement that will sideline him for at least a month as he attempts to recover without surgery. Joe Kelly, making his major league debut, will take Garcia's spot in the rotation, at least until Chris Carpenter returns from his own injury.

In Garcia the Cardinals lose their only would-be ace who hadn't struggled already with injury problems. Carpenter still hasn't thrown in a game all year, and Adam Wainwright has only lately looked back on track after a slow adjustment following his own elbow surgery last season.

Kelly, a sinkerballer whose middling strikeout-to-walk ratios have slowed his ascent through the minor leagues, might be a Major League reliever in the long-term, but the Cardinals will give him every chance to prove whether he could be a young, cheap Jake Westbrook in the back of their rotation.

Garcia was 3-4 with an ERA of 4.48 in 11 starts this season, struggling most recently to a two inning, six-run finish that led pitcher and coaches to decide something was wrong. More Cardinals news from SB Nation St. Louis:

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Jaime Garcia Injury: St. Louis Cardinals' Starter Seeks Second Opinion Following Shoulder Strain

The St. Louis Cardinals' rotation suffered another blow Thursday when Jaime Garcia was sent to the disabled list suffering from a shoulder injury that's currently being labeled a strain. Fernando Salas was called up to replace him on the roster, with Brandon Dickson or Joe Kelly set to replace him in the rotation following a second move at AAA Memphis. Salas threw a scoreless inning with a strikeout in his return to the Cardinals' beleaguered bullpen, but the big story was the loss of Garcia, who'd stabilized their rotation as Adam Wainwright struggled to round back into form.

Right now the problem doesn't seem extremely serious; if it worsens, the Cardinals' four year, $27 million contract with the young left-hander could be a hindrance instead of a bargain. In 81 career games with the Cardinals Garcia is 30-20, with an ERA of 3.45. Just 25, he's emerged as one of the National League's more reliable and consistent left-handed starters.

And whether it's Kelly or Dickson who sets out to do it, he'll be difficult to replace.

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Jaime Garcia Injury Worries Intensify After Bad Start Following Elbow Soreness

The St. Louis Cardinals can't afford to lose Jaime Garcia, but injury concerns are likely to linger after their third-year left-hander struggled in his first start since missing his spot in the rotation with elbow soreness. Garcia allowed six runs in two innings, and after the game manager Mike Matheny, while downplaying concern over the soundness of his elbow, was forthright in admitting Garcia wasn't right. (Glenn Sattell reports.) Garcia seemed reluctant to throw his fastball, and when he did it rarely broke 87 or 88 according to PitchF/X.

All this could be fixed more easily if the Cardinals had top prospect Shelby Miller ready to go, but he's struggled since his promotion this season to AAA Memphis, allowing two home runs in his own Tuesday start and going only five innings. Joe Kelly, a sinkerballing right-hander who was a reliever in college, is probably next in line to start. Whatever happens, one thing is certain: The Cardinals need Chris Carpenter to come back strong.

They also need Jaime Garcia to come back when he's ready—hopefully soon.

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Jaime Garcia Ready To Start For St. Louis Cardinals Tuesday

The St. Louis Cardinals seem unworried that the Jaime Garcia injury that ate up last week's off-day is anything more than some minor elbow soreness.

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