The Morning After STL

Hummel: Rarely Seen Jaime Garcia This Excited, Optimistic

Brendan Marks, Mon, 18 May 2015 15:55:00 GMT

Cardinals left-hander Jaime Garcia will make his season debut against the Mets on Thursday, almost two months after he was sidelined in spring training with a shoulder injury.

Garcia allowed just two runs in six innings in his last rehab start at Double-A Springfield Friday. Both he and the Cardinals are enthused about his return to the Major Leagues, according to Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“I’ve rarely seen Jaime this excited and this optimistic, nor have I seen the club this optimistic either,” Hummel told The Ryan Kelley Morning After on Monday. “He’s not going to go out and throw a shut-out his first time out. But he’s been healthy except for that glitch right at the end of spring training. He’s throwing hard, his ball always moves.”

Garcia is 42-26 in 68 decisions as a Major Leaguer. The lefty is scheduled to face the Arizona D-Backs and Milwaukee Brewers in his next two starts after Thursday’s outing against the Mets.

“There’s going to be ample opportunity for him. There’s a spot for him all season long if he can handle it,” Hummel said. “He’s 28. He’s got plenty more years if he’s healthy.”

Below are some other excerpts from Hummel’s interview on The Morning After. Listen to the whole thing here:

Download: Rick Hummel on The Morning After

Shelby Miller continues to look outstanding in Atlanta and Jason Heyward has been underwhelming so far. What do you make of that trade now?

Certainly one sided for the Braves so far. When (Oscar) Taveras was killed, the Cardinals felt they needed a big-time outfielder to take that spot. They had to overpay to get Heyward. And Miller was a good pitcher for the Cardinals. He’s a number 1 draft pick. But he’s almost been the best pitcher in the league so far.

On Jason Heyward so far: ̈ ̈

We’re at 100 at-bats now and he’s hitting .240, .250. He’s hit a few more balls to right field lately. Like to see him pull the ball more. Certainly he’s been disappointed. They’re just trying to find a way to cut him loose. Is he going to be a 20-hr guy? I don’t think anyone can predict that. ̈ ̈

Do you think there will be a time when Hayward doesn’t play every day?

I think he’ll play against all the right-handers. You do have a hot commodity in (Randal) Grichuk, who really hasn’t been healthy enough until recently. Holliday has been hot too. And they’re going to ride Peter Bourjos in centerfield. Hayward will get his time, but Grichuck may cut into it.

On Matt Adams’ struggles:

He hit the ball well the first time last night, otherwise, not so much. And (Cardinals manager Mike Matheny) has shown no hesitancy to get to Reynolds. There’s no guarantee he’s going to play every day. Reynolds is going to hit .240 with some power, that’s what you expect from him. Adams hitting .240 is not good enough. ̈ ̈

On Peter Bourjos’ recent performances:

The only thing you wish he could do is hit first, but he can’t because he can’t get on base enough. ̈ ̈Matt Carpenter seems to be over his issue? Ever seen anything like that? ̈ ̈I’ve never seen a team operate and address it in that fashion before. He’s played every inning since he came back, Haven’t seen any drop-off. He seems happy.

̈ ̈Kolten Wong has been impressive this year. When do you think he’ll get a look at an All-Star Game?

I see that happening this year. I don’t see a lot of guys better than him at this position. I don’t know if he’s established himself enough to get the voting lead. He’s been very true defensively this year. He’s hit .300, he’s hit remarkable power for a guy his size. He hasn’t stolen a lot of bases yet. It would be nice if he could lead-off, but the two games they had him there he didn’t get a hit.

̈ ̈Do you think it’s realistic the Cardinals make a trade for a starting pitcher in June?

It’s realistic but I don’t think (general manager John) Mozeliak is going to do it until at least June. They’re going to ride the Jaime Garcia train for a couple weeks and then Gonzales after that. They can make a trade, but who are you going to give up? If you want to make a trade, maybe Gonzales is one of those people (you trade away). But teams need to see better from him as well. ̈