Cardinals leaning toward exercising Jaime Garcia’s $11.5 million club option for 2016

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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.

Brad Ausmus interviewing for Astros manager job

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I did the Handsome Managers list in December. Thought I had moved on. Thought I’d never have to think about him again. But here is, walking right back in my door: Brad Ausmus is interviewing for the vacant Astros manager job. So reports Brian McTaggart of MLB.com.

Ausmus played for the Astros longer than he played for any other team in the bigs, notching ten years of service in two stints and playing on the 2005 NL Pennant-winning club. As a manager, you know, that he led the Tigers for four seasons and was the Angels’ skipper last year.

Houston has already interviewed Dusty Baker for the job. They’ll presumably want someone in place before spring training begins in a few weeks.