ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals see a variety of factors behind Jaime Garcia's early-season success. Most importantly, he's pitching healthy again. Important, too, is the renewed confidence Garcia has in his health. There's been effective pitch movement and the ability to tune out in-game distractions.
But manager Mike Matheny believes that Garcia's willingness to take the club's Spring Training suggestion to limit his comments to the media has played a prominent role in Garcia opening the season 3-1 with a 2.50 ERA, as well.
After reading and listening to the explanations -- and in some instances, excuses -- that Garcia gave after poor performances last year, the Cardinals asked him to cut down on his comments. That led Garcia to mostly stay on a script when talking to the media after each of his outings. He'll laud the defense behind him and the game-calling by the catcher. He says little about anything else.
It's an approach that the Cardinals endorse, even if it means that the public gets little insight into the left-hander's approach or mind-set.
"It's part of my job description [to talk with media]. It's not part of his," Matheny said. "His job is to go out there every single day and deal. And how he handles you and the fans, I hope he does it in a respectful way. But that's not something that he has to have a degree in. That's not something he has to be real proficient in. He has to simplify right now. I think as long as he plays this game, that's how he should go about it, even though it's very uninteresting for you. Once again, I just don't think that should matter."
Matheny said that the push to limit Garcia's dealings with the media is justified, even though a similar approach is not recommended to most players, who know that speaking to the media is their most effective way to mold a positive public image.
"I believe all of us should be accountable. And I do believe that [the media is] a conduit to the lifeblood of what we do," Matheny said. "And I believe that certain guys, most of them, just need to go and give honest answers. I think the bigger responsibility is doing your job. And if something around here gets in the way of doing your job, put first things first. It's not the priority. There are plenty of us around here who say more than what we need to to cover up for the guys who don't say enough."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.