Cardinals right-hander Carlos Martinez was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday night against the Nationals with what was described as a minor back issue. The decision was really more about limiting the 23-year-old’s workload, which is something the Cardinals are now doing with 24-year-old righty Michael Wacha. Proof of that is Martinez getting clearance to return to the rotation Friday in St. Louis’ big series opener versus the Pirates.
J.J. Bailey of KMOV says Martinez will go Friday, Jaime Garcia will take Saturday, and John Lackey will pitch Sunday. This means Lance Lynn is going to get some extra time to rest his rolled right ankle.
St. Louis opened play Tuesday with a six-game lead over Pittsburgh in the National League Central standings. Martinez boasts a 2.91 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 154 2/3 innings this season.
Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki lined a Jaime Garcia offering to left field in the fifth inning in a 3-1 loss on Friday night. It didn’t have the appearance of a milestone hit, but the crowd at Busch Stadium in St. Louis gave the veteran a nice round of applause — and with good reason. The single was the 4,191st hit in professional baseball for Suzuki — combining his achievements in Japan and in the United States — putting him in a tie with Hall of Famer Ty Cobb, who is second behind Pete Rose on baseball’s all-time hits list. Rose had 4,256 hits.
Suzuki, now 41, made his major league debut with the Mariners in 2001, earning American League Rookie of the Year and MVP honors. He would log 200-plus hits in 10 consecutive seasons, including 262 in 2004 when he set the single-season hits record. He has 2,913 in the major leagues. In Japan, between 1992-2000, Suzuki logged 1,278 hits.
If Ichiro were to surpass Rose, it would not be recognized as an official record. However, it’s certainly an accomplishment we can appreciate. It will certainly be used to bolster arguments in favor of his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame.
As recently as mid-May, it looked like a foregone conclusion that this would be Jaime Garcia’s final season in a Cardinals uniform. He made only seven starts in 2014 and opened 2015 on the disabled list with lingering discomfort in his surgically-repaired left shoulder. But the 29-year-old joined the Cardinals’ rotation on May 21 and has registered a 1.77 ERA across 66 innings. He missed more time in June and July with a groin injury, but Garcia is back to full strength now and delivered seven scoreless innings Saturday in St. Louis’ 3-0 defeat of the Brewers.
This all has the Cardinals front office reconsidering Garcia’s $11.5 million club option for the 2016 season …
Garcia, owner of a 3.32 career ERA, also carries a $12 million club option for the 2017 season.