Jaime Garcia to return to Cardinals on Thursday


According to multiple reports, including one from MLB.com, the St. Louis Cardinals’ starting rotation will get a shot in the arm this week when left-hander Jaime Garcia returns to the team on Thursday in New York.

The lefty, who has made just 16 starts since 2013 due to various injuries, spoke to reporters about working his way back from his latest set-back, thoracic outlet surgery last summer.

"“First of all, just to be here and have an opportunity to be back in this clubhouse with my teammates, it’s something that I’m just extremely grateful for. I know it’s been a long road, but I’m extremely excited to be here, and I’m definitely looking forward to pitching on Thursday.”"

Garcia was once considered one of the up-and-coming arms for the Cardinals organization before injuries took control of his career over the last few seasons. In 2010, he finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting after going 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA in 28 outings for the Redbirds, and he went on to win another 13 contests in 2011 – although his earned run average sat in the mid-3.00 range.

The southpaw, now 28 years old, made just nine and seven starts, respectively, during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. With ace Adam Wainwright down and out for the remainder of the season after suffering an Achilles injury, a spot in the rotation has been held down by Tyler Lyons, who was sent down to Triple-A Memphis recently.

St. Louis general manager Jon Mozeliak also spoke to the media about Garcia and what his return means to the Cardinals, who carry a four-game lead in the division into the series against the Mets this week.

"“He’s been very clear that he’s been feeling much stronger [than he did in Spring Training], and he has an ability to respond after he throws,” Mozeliak said. “Getting his pitch count up was critical, but clearly, right now, we need someone to step up and take that fifth spot. He’ll get that chance.”"

If Garcia is healthy and is finally back to the level he performed at earlier in his career, an already-strong team will take a huge step forward. A career 42-26 record under his belt, the Mexico native will look to prove his doubters wrong this season as St. Louis takes aim at another postseason berth in 2015.

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