Well, at least now we know why the Cardinals wanted Carlos Martinez to start this Spring.
According to Bob Nightengale, the Cardinals have sent lefty Jaime Garcia back to St.Louis for tests on his shoulder after he experienced discomfort.
This is not good news for Garcia or the Cards, as it appears the team's pitching depth will once again be tested this year.
Garcia has dealt with shoulder issues the last 2 years and, as anyone who follows injuries knows, shoulder injuries are the most troublesome for pitchers, with a much lower comeback rate than pitchers who undergo Tommy John surgery.
Thus, while its not totally surprising that his shoulder problems seem to be back, its a little surprising considering that the reports were that he had a successful bullpen session just last week.
Assuming the worst (and this is all speculation until the results of the tests are known), it makes a little more sense that the Cardinals were stretching out Martinez this spring. As I noted just a couple days ago, between Garcia's injury and Lance Lynn's 1st half/2nd half splits, there were enough concerns with the rotation to have a fresh arm ready.
However, even if Garcia is lost for the season, it is not a foregone conclusion that Martinez will replace him in the rotation.
Joe Kelly will have something to say about that. He may not have the huge upside and electric stuff that Martinez has, but he has gone 13-9 with a 3.03 ERA in 31 starts over the last two seasons.
In addition, we cannot forget about Tyler Lyons. The young lefty made 8 starts in 2013 for the Cards, posting a 2-4 record and 5.56 ERA. However, he only allowed one run in each of his first two starts and had a 7-2 record and 3.32 ERA in AAA Memphis.
Chances are the Cardinals will need all three of them, especially if Garcia misses extended time. Between potential innings limits for Michael Wacha and Martinez, as well as the fact that Kelly only pitched 124 innings in 2013, the Cards will be extra careful with their youngsters, which may lead Mike Matheny to potentially work out some sort of platoon with his young pitchers.
In any case, the Cardinals and their fans will hold their collective breaths until the results of Garcia's MRI are known.