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.