Cardinals place Jaime Garcia on the 15-day DL

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Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia had two uncharacteristically bad starts against the Rockies and Brewers recently, surrendering five and six runs, respectively. Garcia dealt with shoulder issues last year and they may be to blame for his recent adversity as well. The Cardinals have placed him on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain, and he will see Dr. James Andrews for further input.

Mitchell Boggs has been recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take Garcia’s vacant roster spot, but the team will soon decide on a starter to take Garcia’s place. Garcia is the third Cardinals starter to be sidelined, joining Chris Carpenter (who may return in the second half out of the bullpen) and Jake Westbrook (who should begin a throwing program soon).

Garcia is concerned. Via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch:

“I would say at this point it’s worse,” Garcia said, when asked how the discomfort compared to what he dealt with last year. “There’s a lot more pain than last year. It started three starts ago. I was feeling great up until that point. I basically tried to take care of doing little things here and there and it went downhill getting worse and worse.”

An MRI taken on Garcia’s shoulder on Saturday came back inconclusive. He is scheduled to visit with Dr. James Andrews next week for another opinion. Because Garcia already tried the rehab route for this injury, the only option this time may be undergoing a procedure.

“I’m very concerned, especially with the way I felt last night and the way I feel today,” Garcia said of that possibility.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉