As expected, the Cardinals removed Game 2 starter Jaime Garcia from their NLDS roster Tuesday, adding rookie right-hander Shelby Miller to take his spot.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny pinch-hit for Garcia in the midst of a four-run second inning Monday in St. Louis, revealing after the game that his starter had complained of shoulder stiffness. That news apparently was not especially well-received in the Cardinals’ clubhouse, as Garcia had felt discomfort at least since his side session last week in Atlanta but neglected to tell anyone about it.
This is the second time this year Garcia has been waylaid by shoulder problems, and this spell likely will end his season. By removing him from the NLDS roster, the Cardinals rendered Garcia ineligible for the NLCS roster should they advance. He could be added back for the World Series, but the Cardinals could very well opt to stick with right-hander Lance Lynn, who started most of the year but came out of the bullpen in the first two games of this series.
The only surprise about the move Tuesday was that the Cardinals added Miller instead of bringing back lefty reliever Sam Freeman, who was active for Friday’s wild card game in Atlanta. Matheny explained that he wanted someone capable of throwing extended innings for the rest of this series in case another starter had to be removed early. Miller, a starter (and top prospect) who turns 22 on Wednesday, fits that bill.
At his press conference Tuesday, Matheny downplayed any potential displeasure with Garcia about the way the left-hander handled the situation.
“No, you know, he went back and forth just like every guy does,” Matheny said. “You don’t know exactly how you’re going to feel until you get out there. There are times you don’t feel good, and I know that we have had some pitchers wondering if they can make pitch one and next thing you know they are standing on top of the mound in the eighth inning.
“I respect these guys’ preparation that they have going into a game, how they push through things, and try and make something out of nothing at times. If you waited around until you felt perfect, you would never play this game. So I know where you’re going with this, and that’s not the case.”