ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Cardinals are giving lefty Jaime Garcia his first start of the season Thursday, and general manager John Mozeliak said there's no rush to make a trade for veteran pitching.
"Let's just see how Jaime does," Mozeliak said Sunday. "Let's give him a chance to see if he can be that answer. If we can't do it from within then we may have to look externally, but we're not at that point where we feel we have to do something."
Garcia had a setback in spring training from thoracic outlet surgery, performed to alleviate numbness and tingling in his pitching arm and hand. He threw six innings in a minor league rehab start on Friday, and St. Louis needed a starter after Tyler Lyons faltered Saturday.
Marco Gonzales also is on a rehab assignment, coming back from a shoulder injury, but is coming off a sub-par outing in Colorado.
So the Cardinals appear to have some time while searching for somebody to help fill the void after ace Adam Wainwright's season-ending Achilles injury. Wainwright was a 20-game winner for the second time in his career last year and always has carried a heavy load, totaling 243 innings last year counting the postseason.
The 28-year-old Garcia appeared in just 16 games and 99 innings combined the last two seasons. He was a 13-game winner each of his first two seasons in the rotation in 2010 and 2011.
"Everything seems to be good and responding well, so he'll be given that opportunity," Mozeliak said. "I'm optimistic, most importantly because of what he's telling us or specifically telling me on just how he's feeling."
Garcia will be starting against the Mets in New York.
"Great reports on his last start, and we need somebody to step up," manager Mike Matheny said.
St. Louis also added bullpen depth Sunday, recalling right-hander Sam Tuivailala from Triple-A Memphis. For the time being, they'll stick with 13 pitchers.
"I've been really concerned about our arms in the pen," Matheny said. "If we've got guys who can soak up some innings, I think it's going to pay off in the long run rather than having that extra guy on the bench."
Lyons, who made three starts in the slot formerly held by injured ace Adam Wainwright, was optioned to Memphis, a day after lasting just 3 2-3 innings in a loss to Detroit. A fourth minor leaguer, Tim Cooney was the first to be used as a fill-in and threw a one-hitter Saturday for Memphis.
The 22-year-old Tuivailala worked two innings of relief in a 14-inning victory over Pittsburgh on May 3 and appeared in two games last September. He was 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA and three saves in three chances in 12 games at Memphis.
Lyons is 0-0 with a 5.54 ERA, striking out 17 in 13 innings but also surrendering 18 hits.