ST. LOUIS — Jaime Garcia's ineffectiveness wasn't the only reason he was removed after just two innings from the St. Louis Cardinals' game against Washington on Monday afternoon.
Garcia said he experienced discomfort in his left shoulder during warmups, but believed it was just stiffness that would work itself out during the game.
Instead, the pain didn't diminish, and Garcia underwent an MRI following his early exit. The Cardinals were awaiting the results after their 12-4 victory over the Nationals that tied up the best-of-five National League Division Series at one game apiece.
"I guess I would have to say that I'm excited because we won," Garcia said. "But I'm disappointed personally because I had to come out of the game. We'll see what happens."
Obviously, Garcia is concerned.
"I don't even know what to think," he said. "I'm going to see what the results are and wait and see how it feels in the next couple of days. It's a really tough situation for me right now."
Garcia's shoulder has been an issue for much of the season. Doctors diagnosed moderate tearing in his rotator cuff and labrum in June, but Garcia has thus far avoided surgery.
Garcia made a start June 5 against Houston, but did not return until Aug. 19 against Pittsburgh. He spent the time strengthening the muscles inside his shoulder so they will better protect the rotator cuff and labrum.
In his final nine starts of the season, Garcia was encouraged by a 4-3 record and a 3.25 ERA. But after Monday, it became clear that everything is not OK inside his shoulder.
"It just didn't feel right," Garcia said. "It was hurting and wasn't feeling the way it has been the last couple of weeks. It just wasn't right. It never got better."
Asked whether the pain was similar to what he experienced before he landed on the disabled list in June, Garcia said: "I can't really talk about that."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said the team became aware of Garcia's problem in the bottom of the second. Lance Lynn immediately began warming up with vigor, and when Garcia was due to bat, Skip Schumaker was announced as a pinch-hitter.
"We knew about it and so (we) began the wheels in motion to get Lynn ready, make sure he had enough time," Matheny said. "But (Garcia) wasn't feeling good, and got to the point where he needed to say something. So we had to make a quick move."
Lynn, who was 18-7 in the rotation this season, earned credit for the victory by pitching three innings and allowing two hits. Lynn walked one and struck out five.
"It was nice to see everybody have their part (in the victory)," Matheny said. "But certainly we tip our hat to Lance Lynn being able to come in (to) a situation like that and perform and keep his composure and be prepared. Then be able to carry (us) for a few innings.
"It's a huge advantage, especially (because) he's so durable and strong that we can do that, even though he pitched (Sunday) night."
Lynn said it "wasn't that hard."
"I was ready from the get-go in case anything happened," he said. "It's something I was able to do at times this year."
If Garcia is deemed unable to pitch for the remainder of the postseason, Lynn could be plugged into his spot.
Garcia said he first experienced stiffness "a couple of days ago."
"You get a little stiff or sore in between starts," he said. "That's part of pitching. As you get closer to game time, the stiffness and the soreness goes away. Or it's a little stiff, but it's still allowing you to go out there and execute pitches --and you make your pitches.
"This is one of those things where it didn't get better the last couple of days. Then today, I was like, 'You know what? No excuses. Go out there and give your team a chance to win.' And it didn't get better again. It's kind of hard to explain. ... It wasn't right."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at email@example.com or 239-2665.