It may seem implausible, but Jaime Garcia is still contemplating a return to the St Louis Cardinals after undergoing shoulder surgery in May. Chad Thornburg of MLB.com reports that the left-hander is using the Cardinals' battle to win the NL Central as motivation to return this September. Garcia spoke about how the division race is helping him to stay motivated during his rehab.
"It's kind of giving me that extra motivation I need for this year," Garcia said. "I'm taking this thing one day at a time, [but] it makes it a little bit easier when these guys are doing what they're doing right now."
The surgery was expected to be season-ending when it was performed back in May, a fairly common prognosis for pitchers undergoing such a procedure. However, Garcia declared early last month that he was aiming to get back on the roster for the postseason, and now he seems to be aiming even earlier than that, although his comments did indicate that he knew it was an extremely long shot.
With rosters expanded, Garcia could return in the bullpen to give the Cards another left-handed option for the stretch run. Thornburg says that Monday will be the first day Garcia has thrown without a set pitch count or distance since he started his rehab, but the regular minor-league season over, there will be no opportunity for the 27-year-old to pitch in actual games prior to any return. In reality, St Louis are unlikely to put Garcia back on the mound unless they're supremely confident in his health, no matter how much they might need pitching help.
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