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Cardinals' Jaime Garcia to visit Dr. Andrews, season hangs in balance

By Scott Miller | Senior Baseball Columnist

They seem like they've already shuffled through a season's worth of curveballs and roster moves, but the Cardinals are doing it again.

Left-hander Jaime Garcia will visit noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday, with the expected outcome being season-ending shoulder surgery. That is not final; there still may be a way around it.

But the Cardinals know this: Garcia tried to work around the advice of multiple doctors advising surgery last year, opting for rehabilitation instead. And the 26-year-old was hopeful the plan worked … until increasing pain helped wreck his start against the Brewers last Friday night.

Now, rookie left-hander Tyler Lyons will make his major league debut in Garcia's place Wednesday in San Diego. Whether Lyons receives any encore performances depends not only on his own performance, but on the recovery of veteran right-hander Jake Westbrook from his own injury issues (right elbow).

Westbrook is expected to be ready to rejoin the Redbirds in about 10 days.

Lyon, 25, was 2-1 with a 4.47 ERA at Triple-A Memphis. Though Michael Wacha, 21, is more highly rated as a prospect, the Cardinals are taking great care not to rush him and add more stress to his arm. Plus, if they recall him this soon, his arbitration clock will start ticking.

So while Garcia visits Andrews and Westbrook gets closer, the Cards will hand the ball to Lyons.

“We'd like to see him come out and do what he's been doing,” manager Mike Matheny said. “He's been in the zone, he's been able to be effective against left-handed hitters. He's been able to get some swings and misses and challenge guys to put the ball in play.”

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