On June 5th, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jamie Garcia made the slow walk from the Minute Maid Park mound to the dugout, and would not return to the Cards game in Houston versus the Astros. He has not set foot on a major league mound since. Out since that 2nd inning in Houston due to a strained shoulder, Garcia is one step closer to rejoining the Cardinals rotation–maybe as soon as by the end of the week.

Rehabbing for class AA Springfield on Saturday night Garcia threw 4 1/3 innings under a limited pitch count, allowing just one run on a home run by Chris Dickerson. He threw 64 pitches (44 strikes), struck out 5 and retired the first 9 batters he faced. However impressive, results were not important for Garcia and the Cardinals. The successful rehab start marked another completed step in Garcia’s return to the big leagues. The Card’s lefty was optimistic following his performance in talking about his shoulder: “I can definitely feel a difference…I can tell it’s better.”

Jaime Garcia aims to return to the Cardinals rotation within 8 days

Garcia traveled to St. Louis to throw a bullpen session on Sunday before his next scheduled rehab start on Thursday versus class AA San Antonio. His pitch count will be increased to somewhere near 80-90 pitches, allowing Garcia to stretch out his arm closer to a major league game level. Although the Cards have not announced anything officially, it is obvious that both the organization and Garcia hope that it will be the final start before his return the major league rotation. Garcia was 3-4 with a 4.48 ERA in 2012 for the Redbirds before his injury.