Garcia's shoulder strong after throwing batting practice

JUPITER, Fla. -- Leading off the Cardinals' string of live batting practices this spring was Jaime Garcia, whose session on Saturday drew widespread attention given the shoulder troubles that slowed him a year ago.

What everyone observed, though, was nothing but further evidence to support Garcia's claim that his left shoulder is strong and that his mechanics are once again sound.

"I definitely feel like I'm where I want to be," Garcia said after the team workout. "I think I'm right on schedule. The good thing is everything feels good."

Garcia will throw at least one more round of live BP before he pitches in a Grapefruit League game. Because of the length of the spring season, Garcia could make as many as six Grapefruit League starts before the start of the regular season.

Though shoulder problems limited the left-hander to 121 2/3 innings last season, the Cardinals do not have Garcia on any sort of modified spring program. He has had several medical exams since the shoulder pain resurfaced in the postseason, and none of those follow-ups has given the Cardinals reason to pause.

With health no longer consuming his thoughts, Garcia has been able to find his way back to more natural form.

"I think when you're not healthy, you're battling a lot of things," Garcia said. "Things start getting off -- your mechanics, your strength. I started having issues with my hips. A lot of things started happening because I started changing mechanics because it was hurting. I'm where I want to be right now. I want to be there for my teammates and my team."