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May 22, 2013

Cardinals get a double dose of bad news Wednesday

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Looking at the Cards from a fan's perspective

The Cardinals got a double dose of bad news for the starting rotation Wednesday.

First, they got confirmation of what has widely been expected: Jaima Garcia needs rather serious shoulder surgery and his 2013 season is over.

The other issue is less severe. But it was also more of a surprise: Righty starter Jake Westbrook had to abandon his throwing session Wednesday because of lingering pain in his elbow. 

Garcia needs to have his labrum repaired and his rotator cuff cleaned up. It all sounds a lot like the problem that ended Mark Mulder's career. Hopefully when the surgeon gets in there things will be relatively clean and Garcia will be able to come back. But I suspect it's going to be more than a year before we can expect to see him again. And it will be much longer than that before we'll know if he can be as effective as he once was.

While Westbrook's problem is almost certainly less severe than what Garcia faces, it's more than a slight concern that his pain won't go away.

Westbrook has had two shots to try to lubricate the friction in his elbow which has been blamed on scar tissue from a previous operation. He claims that no structural damage was found during an MRI. But, even if that assessment is correct, it seems like surgery might be needed to allow him to function properly. Even without a rebuild, his elbow is probably going to need at least several weeks to get back in pitching shape if it's cut upon.

The good news is that the Redbirds have plenty of live arms in the system, several of whom are already with the parent club thanks to injury -- or performance related -- roster moves. But the bad news is that if the kids don't get the job done the Cardinals are unlikely to trade some of their valuable yet inexperienced kids for veteran help.

In short: It looks like it's going to be sink or swim with ingredients that are already in the pantry.

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About Cheap Seats

Scott Wuerz has reported for the Belleville News-Democrat since 1998​. He writes about the St. Louis Cardinals from a fan's perspective in his Cheap Seats blog.

Contact him at swuerz@bnd.com.

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