Garcia reportedly will not be ready for Opening Day and may have to start the season on the disabled list, though more will be known once tests are completed in Missouri. He reportedly felt soreness after throwing a bullpen session Saturday and has been shut down indefinitely.
Garcia, 27, has been a consistent performer since breaking into the Cards' starting rotation full-time in 2010. That year, he had a 2.70 ERA and struck out 132 batters over 28 starts. He has not posted an ERA above 3.92 the last four years while also maintaining a WHIP between 1.30 and 1.40.
However, an injured shoulder has kept Garcia out for significant time the past two years. He started just 20 games in 2012, then took the mound nine times in 2013 after having surgery on the shoulder. Obviously, the area still being sore will likely make the Cardinals nervous.
His shoulder is just not feeling quite right," Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak told reporters. "He hasn't felt quite right the last 48 hours. From a medical standpoint, no one thought it was that serious, but it's not improving. There's no reason to work through something if it might be something larger."
On the bright side for the Cardinals, they are arguably the best-equipped team in the league to deal with an injury to the starting rotation. The team can fill a rotation with Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller and Joe Kelly. Former top prospect and current closer Trevor Rosenthal came up through the minors as a starter and could be moved back to the rotation in an emergency, as well. The team's current top pitching prospect, Carlos Martinez, is also major league ready.
Garcia being out certainly is not what the Cardinals would have liked, but they appear equipped to handle his absence without missing a beat.