Garcia called up to spot Ellis, strengthen bench

Garcia called up to spot Ellis, strengthen bench

ST. LOUIS -- Infielder Greg Garcia earned his first big league promotion on Monday, though the Cardinals plan to use veteran Mark Ellis as their primary second baseman for at least the immediate future.

With Kolten Wong back in the Minors, the Cardinals have three players -- Ellis, Garcia and Daniel Descalso -- capable of playing second base. Manager Mike Matheny intends to use all three, to varying degrees.

"Ultimately, that's what [Ellis] was signed for to begin with, to give us that protection," general manager John Mozeliak said. "So we'll take advantage of it."

Garcia, 24, will be middle infield insurance and, the Cardinals hope, a meaningful add to their bench. Through 21 games, Garcia led Triple-A Memphis with five homers and had an 11-game hitting streak going until Sunday. Garcia was batting .267/.357/.535 and had hit safely in 17 of 21 games.

He found out after Memphis' loss on Sunday that after parts of five seasons in the Minors, he had finally earned his Major League chance.

"It's something special," said Garcia, who will wear No. 12. "It's something I've thought about for a long time. Words really can't describe how I'm feeling right now. It's a great feeling and I'm happy to be here. There are a little nerves, but more excitement than anything just looking around this clubhouse and seeing the guys here. I just want to go out and compete and help this team win."

Garcia played collegiate baseball with Wong at the University of Hawaii, an interesting wrinkle since he now takes Wong's spot on the 25-man roster.

"He was actually the first person that called me," Garcia said. "That's just the kind of character and the kind of guy Kolten is. We have a great relationship and nothing's going to change that. He's a great baseball player and he'll be back up here soon."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for 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.