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Monday, June 23, 2014

Cardinals Injury Update: Michael Wacha, Jaime Garcia, Joe Kelly

By on 6/23/2014 05:49:00 AM

The St. Louis Cardinals were struck by a double blow to their pitching staff over the weekend as medical examinations made it clear that both Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia would need to go on the disabled list and will now be out indefinitely. Jenifer Langosch of reports that following a CT scan and MRI, the Cardinals were surprised to find that Wacha had a stress reaction in his right shoulder, leading them to shut him down when previously the plan had been to simply skip a start to get him some rest.

Langosch spoke to general manager John Mozeliak, who described the young right-hander as "too young and too valuable to take risks with". Wacha attempted to throw on Sunday but continued to feel tightness and St. Louis certainly have taken no risks by immediately shutting him down for a few weeks. The team has not put a timetable on Wacha's recovery.

Garcia's shoulder injury is sadly not as surprising after multiple seasons of battling shoulder issues. According to Langosch, the left-hander tried to throw his regular between-starts bullpen on Sunday but wasn't able to complete it. Garcia will apparently start rehab straight away but given his history, the Cardinals are likely to be cautious at every step. He has already spent almost two months on the DL this season with shoulder inflammation and underwent labrum surgery last season.

The one bright spot for the team was that Joe Kelly came through an extended bullpen session on Sunday and Langosch writes that he will make a rehab start on Friday with Triple-A Memphis. Kelly has been out since mid-April with a hamstring strain. It wouldn't be surprising to see the team try to get Kelly back in the rotation following that start, given the suddenly pressing need.

One pitcher who will be staying in the rotation for longer than expected is 22-year-old Carlos Martinez, who helped the Cardinals to a 5-3 win Sunday in what was expected to be a spot start. A lot was expected of Martinez coming in to the season but he has struggled in the bullpen, with a rather unimpressive 1.72 K/BB ratio and ordinary-looking 1.32 WHIP. Given that neither Wacha nor Garcia are likely to return soon, Martinez should get a reasonable chance to stick in the rotation if he can improve his performance.

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