ST. LOUIS — Jaime Garcia's troublesome left shoulder again has landed him on the disabled list.
The St. Louis Cardinals pitcher was shut down Saturday with a shoulder strain --the same issue that sidelined him last season.
Reliever Mitchell Boggs will be recalled from Class AAA Memphis on Sunday to take Garcia's place on the roster. The Cardinals have not determined who will take Garcia's spot in the rotation.
"I would say at this point, it's worse," Garcia (5-2, 3.58 ERA) said of the discomfort he is experiencing now compared to last season. "There's a lot more pain than last year.
"It started three starts ago. I was feeling great up to that point. I basically tried to take care of it doing little things here and there. It just went downhill; it got worse and worse."
Garcia said the pain affects the movement of his pitches and, primarily, his velocity. He is 2-1 with a 5.59 ERA in his last three starts after starting the season 3-1 with a 2.50 ERA.
"My first five (starts), it was feeling good," Garcia said of the shoulder. "I was feeling good physically. But the last three starts ..."
Last year, Garcia avoided surgery by rehabilitating the muscles around his torn labrum and rotator cuff through exercise.
The Cardinals, specifically General Manager John Mozeliak, are not optimistic that is a route Garcia can follow this time around, which means season-ending surgery is a distinct possibility.
"I'm very concerned, especially after the way I felt (Friday) night and how I feel today," said Garcia, who was the winner Friday although he allowed six runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings against Milwaukee. "I had an MRI this morning and I'm going to have the doctors look at it and we'll see what's going to happen."
Mozeliak said the MRI wasn't conclusive, but that it "did indicate something is going on."
Asked whether Garcia was back where he was last year, Mozeliak said: "I feel like that, yes."
"It's very concerning," Mozeliak said. "Look, any time you're putting someone on the DL, it's a concern. ... All indications seem like it's not good."
Garcia is expected to visit orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., before a course of action is determined.
"I would see (surgery) as an option," Garcia said. "But I don't want to get ahead of anything right now. I'm probably going to see one doctor and see what he says. But (surgery) is an option.
"I know it's not an easy thing, the shoulder. But again, I'm only 26 years old and this is something I've been dealing with."
Mozeliak said he will sit down with manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Derek Lilliquist to select a candidate to assume Garcia's spot in the rotation, which already is without Jake Westbrook (strained elbow).
"Hopefully, we'll have an answer either (Sunday) or Monday," Mozeliak said, adding that is no shortage of possibilities.
"We have internal options at the major-league level and I think we have a couple of options at Triple-A," Mozeliak said. "Rather than play a guessing game with you, I just would rather get with those guys (Matheny and Lilliquist) and figure it out."
One possibility is right-hander Michael Wacha, who is 4-0 with a 1.89 ERA in eight starts at Memphis. Wacha, 21, has allowed just 29 hits in 47 2/3 innings, with 14 walks and 32 strikeouts.
"Everybody gets talked about, but no decision's been made," Mozeliak said. "I obviously have a short list of people I know we can go to. ... (But) there's more than just simply names.
"Having said that, we do have three guys on this current roster. Joe Kelly's started in the past. (Seth) Maness has been a starter and Carlos Martinez has. Then you have guys like Wacha and (Tyler) Lyons both throwing the ball well in Triple-A. There's five names. My point is, there's lots of names, and we consider all of them."
Garcia said he was "really close" to asking out of the game Friday.
"To be honest with you, I don't know how I made it through (5 1/3 innings)," he said. "It's a tough thing for me. I worked so hard this offseason and I really want to be out there for my teammates. To basically give up is a hard thing for me to do. But I'm at a point where I have to say something about it, and it's not good."
Boggs was optioned to Memphis on May 3 after going 0-2 with a 12.66 ERA in 14 games with the Cardinals. He has a 5.06 ERA in six games at Memphis, with much of the damage coming Friday when he allowed three runs in 1/3 of an inning against Tacoma.
"With the exception of his last outing, he's been throwing the ball really well," Mozeliak said. "Given that Jaime's not going to continue, it doesn't make any sense to not make a roster move. He was making positive progression. He was the natural choice."
Contact reporter David Wilhelm at email@example.com or 239-2665.