Cardinals lefthander Jaime Garcia will refrain from all throwing activities for a minimum four weeks after a second opinion Friday supported an earlier finding regarding his problematic left shoulder.
The shutdown means Garcia won’t return to the rotation for at least six weeks, and likely will be sidelined for the next two months according to a source familiar with the situation.
Garcia visited Dr. Lewis Yocum on Friday in Los Angeles and will be examined by Dr. James Andrews on Monday in Birmingham, Ala.
The club has characterized Garcia’s condition as a strain.
Procedures performed Wednesday and Friday discovered tearing in Garcia’s rotator cuff and labrum. Rest and rehabilitation are considered preferable to surgery.
Such tears commonly are referred to as minor, moderate or complete. Tears in Garcia’s cuff and labrum are believed to be moderate.
Cards general manager John Mozeliak described surgery as “not on the table.”
Surgery isn’t recommended for Garcia at this time because procedures involving the shoulder offer far less certainty than an elbow-ligament replacement, which carries a success rate of better than 90 percent.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals have elected to loan Garcia’s spot in the rotation to Joe Kelly.
Among the few bright spots in a brutal season at Triple-A Memphis, Kelly will make his major-league debut against the Cleveland Indians on Sunday afternoon at Busch Stadium. The Cards opted for Kelly over Brandon Dickson, who appeared for the parent club in each of the past two seasons but took his scheduled turn for Memphis on Friday. He gave up seven hits and four runs, just one earned, in five innings of work against Albuquerque in a 12-0 Redbirds loss.
Kelly, who turns 24 today, carries a misleading 2-5 record and a 2.86 ERA, which ranks second in the Pacific Coast League. Kelly impressed the major-league staff in spring training and has done nothing to change that impression for Memphis, which is 22-39.
“We need somebody to come in here and give us a chance, so we’ll go with the guy throwing the best,” manager Mike Matheny said.
The Cardinals won’t formally announce the move until Sunday morning. They must make a corresponding move to create space on their 40-man roster. One possibility is to shift Chris Carpenter to the 60-day disabled list, which doesn’t count against the 40-man limit.
Kelly effectively has mixed a sinker with a reliable change-up at Memphis. He has a formative breaking pitch while drawing universal praise for his maturity and competitiveness.
The move occurs against a backdrop of growing concern over Garcia, who lasted only two innings against Houston on Tuesday. The club had described Garcia as suffering from a shoulder strain, a description that could encompass a variety of issues.
Garcia underwent an MRI of his left elbow last month after leaving the club in Atlanta and subsequently informed team trainers that although he wasn’t experiencing pain in the shoulder, he thought something was wrong. An examination Wednesday included another MRI that raised enough concerns for Garcia to be placed on the DL Thursday.
Garcia’s initial indication of elbow discomfort followed by a “clean” MRI suggests he had been compensating for the shoulder issue for some time; however, the club hasn’t indicated how long it has harbored concerns about Garcia’s shoulder.
Before his abortive start against Houston, Garcia threw last weekend at Busch Stadium.
The start Tuesday was his first since May 26, a span of 10 days, and was typified by diminished velocity. Garcia threw his fastball only sparingly and admitted to a problem to manager Mike Matheny in the dugout.
Multiple Duncans in house
Dave Duncan walked the field Friday in batting practice. The Cardinals’ former pitching coach traveled from Table Rock Lake with his wife, Jeanine, to watch the Cardinals pitchers as well as their eldest son, Indians left fielder Shelley Duncan — who fouled out in a pinch-hitting appearance Friday. Duncan’s youngest son, Chris, also was expected to visit as his brother made his first visit in uniform to Busch Stadium.
Asked his rooting preference, Dave Duncan quipped, “I’m better off being non-committal.”
He remains connected to the Cards in an advisory capacity. He has kept watch on a pitching staff that dominated in April before retreating in May.
The Cardinals have reached contract agreements with two of their top draft picks: Patrick Wisdom and Steve Bean. Wisdom is a third baseman from St. Mary’s College selected with the 52nd overall pick. Bean, a catcher, was drafted 59th.
• Center fielder Jon Jay could not offer a timetable for his return from a shoulder separation but said he has experienced greater range of motion in recent days. Jay has been absent from the lineup since May 16.