MIAMI -- Left-hander Jaime Garcia, shut down because of fatigue, will miss his second straight start, with the Cardinals opting to use Jeff Suppan in his spot against the Pirates on Thursday.
Yet manager Tony La Russa on Monday held out the possibility that Garcia could return in the regular season's final week.
"There's a couple of places next week where he could fit in," La Russa said before the Cardinals' makeup game against the Marlins at Sun Life Stadium.
Garcia is 13-8 with a sterling 2.70 ERA, but he has thrown 163 1/3 innings, a heavy workload for a pitcher who had Tommy John surgery in September 2008.
Garcia said that, after a brief shutdown, he has resumed pitching on the side during this lull and is just waiting to see now if he'll get another regular-season start.
"I'm ready to go," he said. "I threw a side yesterday and felt fine. I'm just waiting to see what decision they make."
Garcia acknowledged that he had reached a point of being fatigued, but that he was prepared to pitch through it.
"I'm not going to lie to you -- I was feeling a little tired," he said. "But that was just like everybody else. Nobody was feeling 100 percent like you do in Spring Training."
Garcia said he has told the Cardinals that "I'm feeling fine" now, and he still hopes to be able to put an exclamation point on his season, particularly if it will help the club reach the playoffs.