Lefthander Jaime Garcia will rejoin the Cardinals today. He took a cortisone shot in his left shoulder at the office of Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., on Wednesday and the Cardinals’ brass is encouraged that no additional surgery is required so far.
But when he will pitch again, and in what capacity, is unknown.

General manager John Mozeliak said, “The good news is that there’s nothing structurally wrong with him. He does have that inflammation. Depending on how he feels after that injection will determine that next step.

“But this is certainly better than it could have been.”

After undergoing an operation for labrum and rotator cuff damage in May, 2013 and then feeling discomfort last Thursday in his shoulder, Garcia headed to St. Louis to be examined by Dr. George Paletta, who performed the surgery, and then by Andrews, whom Garcia had seen before.

“The key is how does he respond?” Mozeliak said. “He’s obviously not going to be thrown into live (batting practice) or game action today. It will be baby steps. Until he takes that next step, we’re not going to know where he falls on the scheme of ‘when?’”

Mozeliak said it would be “difficult” to project Garcia on the March 31 roster for the first game. “He is behind, but, in fairness, we should let the next few days or week unfold.”

Asked if Garcia might be better off trying to return as a reliever, Mozeliak said, “From the volume (of innings) standpoint, there might be some logic there. But the one counter-intuitive part of that is ‘can you go back-to-back (days)?’ That’s the part I can’t answer today.”

Pitchers’ recoveries from shoulder surgeries have been less frequent than those for elbow surgeries, although Garcia was throwing well at the end of last season and early in camp this year.