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Mulder's injury opens door for Garcia

Mulder's injury opens door for Garcia

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PHILADELPHIA -- Mark Mulder's latest injury came as a huge disappointment to player and team, but it also opened a door for yet another young Cardinal. Left-hander Jaime Garcia was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Thursday to take the spot of Mulder, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder injury.

Garcia is regarded as perhaps the organization's top pitching prospect, and his future looks bright. However, his recall on Thursday is more a matter of need than perfect timing, since he has struggled at times at Memphis. Garcia has also enjoyed some brilliant outings, but in general, he's been inconsistent since his promotion from Double-A Springfield.

"He's had some good periods and he's made progress," manager Tony La Russa said Thursday morning. "I think he can be used in a Brad Thompson-like way, versatile. He can give us innings, because he's used to it. And we have a left-handed relief need. Like today, if he's available to pitch, I'd bring him in there against [Ryan] Howard and find out."

One complication: Garcia has a significant reverse platoon split. He's been much more effective against right-handed hitters than against lefties.

Still, it's an exciting moment for Garcia and for the organization. When Garcia pitches, he will become the 10th Cardinal to make his Major League debut this season -- an impressive number for any organization, but especially for a team very much in playoff contention.

One downside for Garcia: he will not pitch in the XM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday in New York. He had been selected to pitch for the World team in the annual prospect showcase.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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