Jaime Garcia setback impacts Marco Gonzales, Carlos Martinez

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The latest setback to left-handed starting pitcher Jaime Garcia has an impact on St. Louis Cardinals rotation, including what happens with left-hander Marco Gonzales and right-hander Carlos Martinez.

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Garcia made the team aware of the latest injury setback on Saturday as he “alerted the medical staff of fatigue in his left shoulder and biceps” according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It now seems unlikely that Garcia will be on the Opening Night roster one week from today. Nor will Garcia make his scheduled start today in Spring Training.

“Right now is not a good time to be slowing down,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said according to Goold. “Everything was going in a positive direction and we were moving in the right time frame to have him ready. Now we’re going to have to put on the brakes.”

It’s unfortunate that fatigue set in just as Cardinal Nation was beginning to think that Garcia was turning a corner. That the pitcher we all knew he could be, when healthy, was going to be the one to start the season with complete set of health. That his injuries were behind him. Suffice it to say, it will not be the case this year.

With one week until the season starts, Matheny learned about the injury early enough on Saturday so as to not use Gonzales against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday. Instead, Gonzales will take the mound today in lieu of Garcia. The team has a few options, according to Goold, for the opening in the rotation.

"The Cardinals could turn to Martinez or Gonzales, as they planned this past winter, or, as Mozeliak said, elect to go without a fifth starter to start the season because of the off days scattered in the first two weeks."

As the Cardinals continue to take their roster down to 25 players, the rotation continues to loom in the picture. Entering Sunday, Gonzales has pitched 12 2/3 innings with a 0.71 ERA. Will this be enough for the Colorado native to win a spot in the rotation?

With left-handed reliever Sam Freeman traded to the Texas Rangers on Saturday, the Cardinals are fully intent on using Kevin Siegrist and Randy Choate in the bullpen as the club’s left-handed relievers. Carlos Villanueva‘s role is up in the air as things get sorted out.

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