For the St. Louis Cardinals and lefty Jaime Garcia, it’s a fresh clean season to impress.
The last time St. Louis Cardinals fans saw lefthander Jaime Garcia, he was sick. Literally and in the results on the pitching mound. He took the ball in Game 2 of the National League Championship series and coughed up an early lead and when he left the Cubs had scored five runs and stamped the series in their favor.
Sickness was the claim and Garcia was left to wonder what a once promising recovery season had left him. The Cards picked up his option and on Saturday morning, Garcia didn’t offer much more than the usual Garcia quotation samplings.
When asked about last season or his prep, the answer was pretty much, Let me pitch and I’m happy to be back.
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“I’m pretty confident. This is as good as I’ve felt. I’m just glad to be back.”
The bright side about the 2015 offseason was being able to go through the normal motions of a starting pitcher. The same workouts, prep and training. No surgery recovery. Garcia’s shoulder has been whole since last May, when he made a late start to the season. “I’ve been focusing on the little areas of my game. I’m extremely excited to be a part of the St. Louis Cardinals.” Listening to Garcia, you’d think he was working with a contract that gave the front office an opt out after every start.
As always, Garcia doesn’t offer much to the media and that’s fine, as long as he produces. He carries a chip the size of the Arch on his shoulder, and doesn’t claim to think about the little things that media wants to ask them about. He claimed the offseason was great several times, how doing it with the Cardinals is great, and how is he excited.
When I asked him about being a leader for young guys like Carlos Martinez and Marco Gonzales and mentor them through tricky shoulder injuries, Garcia opened up a tiny bit. “I did it last year with some of the guys. That’s the same situation I was in with Chris Carpenter. Someone who has gone through the same surgeries as I have. I can relate to him a lot. If these guys come to me for advice, I will be there for them.”
Summing it up, Garcia is “very excited to be the player they want me to be.” A player that fans have only seen in patches of play from 2012-14 and before heartbreak strikes like last year’s playoffs. Garcia’s talent has never under inspection. His ability to start 25-30 games and perform in the playoffs is on constant alert.
Is 2016 the year he finally shows the world what he can do?