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.

Jim Hickey steps down as Cubs’ pitching coach

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The Cubs announced on Tuesday that Jim Hickey has stepped down as the pitching coach due to personal reasons. The club will begin a search for a replacement.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in a statement, “Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons. We thank Jim for his season with the Cubs and his positive impact on our pitchers. Jim has our full support and we all wish him well.”

Hickey, 57, spent over a decade as a coach in the Rays organization before joining the Cubs for the past season, reuniting with Joe Maddon. The Cubs’ starting staff ranked 10th among all 30 teams with a 3.84 ERA and the bullpen posted an NL-best 3.35 ERA.