UPDATE: Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Garcia will indeed undergo thoracic outlet surgery. He’s done for the year.
1:25 p.m. ET: Jaime Garcia landed on the disabled list late last month with more shoulder issues and now Brian Stull of STLBaseballWeekly.com reports that he is facing a decision on whether to undergo thoracic outlet surgery.
Garcia, 27, was limited to just nine starts with the Cardinals last season due to surgery to repair a 30-40 percent tear in his labrum. He managed to return this May and posted a 4.12 ERA over seven starts prior to being placed on the disabled list with what was termed as a left shoulder inflammation. Thoracic outlet surgery, which usually involves having a rib removed to alleviate a nerve issue, would essentially end his season.
Garcia is owed $9.25 million next season while his contract includes club options for 2016 and 2017. With a 3.50 ERA over nearly 600 innings in the majors, he has been effective when healthy, but those days have been few and far between recently.
The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.
The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.
Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.