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Jaime Garcia brilliant in Cardinals loss to Mets

Sunday was a perfect example of the fact that in spring training games there are many more things that are more important than the final score.

The St. Louis Cardinals were on the short end of a 3-0 score. But the work of starting pitcher Jaime Garcia was very encouraging.

Garcia, who missed the last third of the 2012 season with a strained shoulder, has shown no signs of wear this spring. On Sunday he hurled five rather effortless innings with four hits, two walks and no runs allowed. He struck out one.

The Cardinals really need someone to step up in the rotation with Chris Carpenter like out for the season. Before he struggled last season with injuries, Garcia has seemed like the kind of guy who was capable of being a number two or three starter. But a lack of confidence in his stuff showed through in his statistics and helped Garica develop a reputation as someone who can't pitch when the going gets tough. Hopefully, this better work is a sign he's going to be back to the pitcher he was earlier in his career.

Garcia has been around so long and been so good so early in his career I think a lot of people have forgotten that he's only 26 years old.

Trevor Rosenthal, who seems ticketed for the St. Louis bullpen, impressed by striking out the side in a perfect inning of work.

Eduardo Sanchez, who has been brilliant for the Cardinals so far this spring, had his first rough Grapefruit League outing with two runs allowed on two hits and two walks.

The Cardinals didn't do much at the plate. But second base prospect Kolten Wong got a hit in his only at-bat.