Jaime Garcia seeks second opinion, may need surgery

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Jaime Garcia was removed from the Cardinals’ playoff roster yesterday after lasting just two innings in Game 2 and an MRI exam showed shoulder inflammation and a moderate rotator cuff strain.

And now Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Garcia will be in New York tomorrow getting a second opinion from Dr. David Altcheck, who has performed surgeries on a number of high profile pitchers over the years.

Strauss previously reported two intriguing things that seemingly were in direct contrast to each other. One was that “several teammates were incensed to learn that Garcia started such a monumental game if indeed compromised physically.” The other was that “a faction within the organization has remained skeptical about the severity of Garcia’s condition.”

So his teammates were “incensed” that he tried to pitch hurt, but his team was “skeptical” that he was actually hurt. I’m not sure how to make sense of those two things, but Strauss is one of the most plugged-in beat reporters in baseball and general manager John Mozeliak’s comments about the situation certainly suggest lots of issues from all parties involved.

What we do know for certain is that this is the third time this season Garcia has been shut down with shoulder problems, including a two-month stint on the disabled list. And now, depending on what the second opinion finds, he may need surgery. If nothing else that would certainly rule out the whole “skeptical about the severity of Garcia’s condition” thing.

Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP

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Following the Astros’ decisive 4-0 shutout over the Yankees on Saturday night, Justin Verlander was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League Championship Series. Hall of Fame outfielder and former MLB manager Frank Robinson handed the award to Verlander, who was beaming as he thanked his teammates and members of the Astros’ organization.

“I’ve got to say, it came down to the wire, and one thing kept going off in my head was Dallas,” Verlander told the crowd gathered at Minute Maid Park. “When he called me, he said that I won’t regret my decision to join the Houston Astros. And here we are right now, it’s the best feeling in the world. We’ve got four more wins to win a World Series, and I do not regret my decision to come here. This is the best feeling a player can have. So, thank you.”

Among a cast that boasted the likes of Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Dallas Keuchel, among others, Verlander was spectacular. He locked down a complete game win in Game 2, holding the Yankees to one run on five hits and a walk and striking out a postseason-high 13 batters. In Game 6, he saved the Astros from elimination with seven scoreless innings, helping propel the club to their eventual 7-1 finish that set up their series-clinching finale on Saturday.

The 34-year-old righty also took his place among some postseason greats. Thanks to an eight-strikeout outing on Friday night, his collective 136 postseason strikeouts are good for sixth-most in MLB playoff history, just a smidgen shy of Tom Glavine (143), Mike Mussina (145), Roger Clemens (173), Andy Pettitte (183) and John Smoltz (199). He also joined Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling and Sandy Koufax as one of just four hurlers to strike out 20+ Yankees in a postseason series.