Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia admitted that before taking the mound in a game for the first time since leaving it with a shoulder injury last October he felt that peppery blend of excitement and anxiety.

What he called a “jumpy” beginning to his start Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox settled into something few starts were last season – normal.

“That real game, the excitement, the adrenaline of the game – it’s kind of like when you really test it,” Garcia said. “But it went real well. After (a couple of baserunners in first inning) I did a real good job of … being able to stay locked-in and make pitches after that. I’ll take that. That’s big being able to do that in the first start. I just have to move forward.”

Garcia threw two scoreless innings in the Cardinals’ 15-4 throttling of the Red Sox at their posh mini-Fenway, jetBlue Park. Garcia allowed three hits – all of them groundballs, some harder than others – and needed 43 pitches to gather six outs in his first exhibition start of the Grapefruit League season.

When the first batter of the game smashed an infield single off Garcia’s glove and the next batter scooted a groundball single to left field, the lefty didn’t fret.

He didn’t pace the mound. He didn’t rattle.

He calmly retired the next three batters.

Not that manager Mike Matheny wanted to take tweezers to Garcia’s outing, picking through the line score for positives. Matheny was purposefully not interested in Garcia’s mannerisms or the situations he faced, feeling that perhaps all of the attention on the minutiae created some of Garcia’s major inconsistency. He’d rather let the lefty pitch.