ST. LOUIS -- Though it's unlikely that the Cardinals would push for Jaime Garcia to be ready to pitch in the postseason, the rehabbing left-hander has set October as a personal goal for being ready should the club make the playoffs.
Consider it mostly a mind game.
"The biggest thing for me is that keeps you working hard and keeps you hungry and keeps you coming to the ballpark to do your rehab," said Garcia, who underwent surgery to repair a labrum tear in his left shoulder in May. "If there's a possibility to come back to the team this year, that has to be my main goal. If there is a small chance of pitching this year, I'm going to be ready to go mentally and physically. Of course, you have to wait and see what happens. I haven't even started throwing yet."
Based on the progression through his rehab program to this point, Garcia said he is tentatively scheduled to start playing catch around the start of the Cardinals' next homestand (Aug. 22). Garcia has remained in St. Louis for his rehab and has spent the months since his surgery strengthening his legs and keeping his body in shape.
Garcia recently began adding more upper body workouts to his schedule and said that he'll soon add plyometrics to the mix.
At the very least, Garcia hopes that if he targets an October return but doesn't pitch, he will at least be in position to follow a normal offseason program. He was told at the time of the procedure not to expect to pitch until 2014.
"Everything has been going very good with rehab so far," Garcia said. "The way I'm approaching it is, after talking to Adam [Wainwright] about how he approached his surgery [in 2011], is mentally and physically you're putting your body in position to be capable."
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.