Jon Garland worried shoulder injury may end career

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Jon Garland was cleared to play catch yesterday for the first time since being placed on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, but there’s no timetable for his return and the 31-year-old right-hander told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that he’s worried about his career:

That’s the natural tendency. It’s my livelihood. I’ve depended on my arm for quite a long time and the first thought is, “Is this it?” I just have to stay positive and hope I get back.

The inflammation kept building. It’s been there, probably my whole career. The wear and tear over the years, it get to the point where the body tries to compensate, and with everything else, it’s taken its toll. I had never had a severe injury. But with every throw, every pitch I was feeling something. The last few outings, it wasn’t fun for me.

That quote sounds more like a stance on injuries in general rather than anything specific about Garland never pitching again, but Gurnick writes that “surgery is an option” and he “admitted to wondering if his season and possibly career could be over.”

Twenty-two-year-old Rubby De La Rosa has moved into the rotation in place of Garland, who went 1-5 with a 4.33 ERA and 28/20 K/BB ratio in 54 innings before being shut down a few weeks ago. Garland previously topped 190 innings in every season since 2002 and needed to reach that mark again to trigger an $8 million option for 2012, but the time on the DL means that won’t happen and he’ll be looking for work as a free agent … or calling it quits at age 32.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.