Greg Garcia provided adequate performance for the Cardinals in 290 plate appearances as a utility infielder. The 28-year-old posted a .253/.365/.332 slash line, good for a respectable 94 wRC+. He's strictly a platoon player, hitting .282 against righties and .086 against lefties last year. If he continues to avoid lefties, he could provide some value in deeper settings, though the fact that his best skill is his 13.2 percent career walk rate hurts his value in non-OBP leagues. At his age, he's probably reached his ceiling as a part-time player, and he's blocked by better players around the infield, but his ability to fill in across the diamond should keep him in a major-league role next season. Garcia has just seven homers and three steals in 295 career games at the big-league level.
Garcia struck out in a pinch-hit appearance during Tuesday's 8-7 Grapefruit League loss to the Mets. A valued utility presence over the last three seasons in particular, Garcia hasn't found much success this spring, rapping out a modest six hits over 40 plate appearances. Nevertheless, the fact he's able to fill in at no less than three infield spots (second base, third base and shortstop) figures to once again help him garner an Opening Day roster spot, while his serviceable major-league body of work at the plate helps put his temporary spring struggles in proper perspective. Injuries around the infield enabled Garcia to log a career-high 133 games last season, and although that workload is unlikely to be replicated in 2018, he should still see a fair share of action over the course of the campaign.
Garcia will lead off and play second base in Friday's series opener against the Brewers, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Garcia has steadily seen time off the bench over the last few weeks, but will enter the starting nine as Kolton Wong continues to deal with back issues. Over the course of September, Garcia is slashing .256/.333/.359 with five RBI and four runs scored in 39 at-bats.
Garcia went 0-for-2 in Tuesday's 8-7 win over the Cubs before being pinch hit for by Jose Martinez (thumb) in the fifth inning. The 28-year-old utility man had last drawn a start Sept. 16, but he'd logged hits in three straight pinch-hit appearances in last week's three-game set versus the Reds. Garcia has been serviceable at the plate while filling in around the infield this season, slashing .253/.368/.336 with two home runs and 20 RBI.
Garcia is not in the lineup Wednesday against Milwaukee. Garcia retreats to the bench once again after sitting out the series opener Tuesday, as Matt Carpenter draws another start at third. Following a four-RBI game, Luke Voit will get another start at first, which basically cuts Garcia out of the lineup for the time being. With Jedd Gyorko on the DL (hamstring), there should still be ample opportunities for Garcia moving forward.
Garcia is out of the lineup Tuesday against the Brewers. Garcia has a clearer path to regular at-bats at third base following Jedd Gyorko's (hamstring) recent placement on the disabled list, but despite going 3-for-4 in his last game Sunday against the Rays, he'll head to the bench for the series opener. The Cardinals will deploy Matt Carpenter, who typically starts at first base, on the other side of the diamond, opening up a spot in the lineup for Luke Voit while Garcia sits. It's unclear if manager Mike Matheny will regularly use Carpenter at the hot corner, however, so Garcia could still end up benefiting more than Voit from Gyorko's absence.
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