DENVER -- After making three Gulf Coast League appearances, right-hander Michael Wacha, the Cardinals' top pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, made his Class A Advanced debut on Monday night.
Pitching for the Palm Beach Cardinals, Wacha struck out five of the six batters he faced. Cardinals scouting director Dan Kantrovitz sent out a tweet which noted that Wacha's fastball sat at 95 mph during the two-inning outing. Wacha's fastball, Kantrovitz reported, touched as high as 97.
"He looked very impressive," added general manager John Mozeliak, who was on hand for the game.
Though Wacha will be groomed as a starter, the Cards pitched Wacha in relief on Monday and will continue to do so through the rest of the Minor League season. That's the organization's way of monitoring Wacha's workload. The 21-year-old pitched 113 1/3 innings for Texas A&M University before St. Louis took him with the 19th selection in the Draft.
In Wacha's three previous GCL appearances, he allowed one run on four hits in five innings. He finished his stint there with no walks and seven strikeouts.
The Cardinals' other first-round selection this year, James Ramsey, has been playing with Palm Beach since signing with the organization. In 26 games at the level, Ramsey has hit .279 with a .370 on-base percentage, eight extra-base hits, nine RBIs and nine stolen bases.
Furcal remains out, but may rejoin lineup soon
DENVER -- Still bothered by lower back stiffness, shortstop Rafael Furcal sat again on Tuesday. It marked the third straight game Furcal remained out of the Cardinals' starting lineup.
Indications are, though, that Furcal could return soon. In addition to responding well to continued treatment, Furcal participated in batting practice with his teammates before Tuesday's game. He did not swing a bat over the weekend. Furcal also fielded some grounders at his infield position.
"It's a little better now, but it's still stiff," Furcal said before the on-field work. "I'm still feeling it a little bit, but I'm getting much better than the last few days."
The tingling sensation that ran through Furcal's leg when the pain first surfaced on Friday has gone away. But Furcal is still particularly sensitive about back injuries, given his history. Furcal underwent surgery on his back in 2008 and, after trying to play through some discomfort, landed on the disabled list with a lower back strain in 2010. That's why he alerted the team's medical staff right away this time around.
Furcal's availability off the bench on Tuesday was to be determined after batting practice.
"It's better to miss three or four games than to miss a month," Furcal said. "I'm worried because I know how hard I'm working to be healthy. I want to play. I don't want to sit down and watch the game."
Garcia's next rehab start Saturday at Double-A
DENVER -- After a successful start with the Gulf Coast League Cardinals on Monday, left-hander Jaime Garcia is slated to make his next Minor League rehab appearance on Saturday. He'll do so in Double-A Springfield.
Garcia, who has been on the disabled list since June 6 with a left shoulder impingement, threw 2 1/3 shutout innings for the GCL Cardinals. He allowed four hits, no walks and struck out one. His pitch count finished near his target of 45.
"From a pitching standpoint, he had some rust on him," said St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak, who attended the game. "But most importantly, he felt good."
Garcia will likely throw between 60-70 pitches on Friday, as he continues to build up his arm strength. Garcia will need at least two -- and possibly three -- more starts before the Cardinals will consider him ready to return to the rotation.
Garcia's on-schedule rehab work left the club confident enough in his impending return not to feel it necessary to add a starter before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
The Cardinals optioned right-hander Trevor Rosenthal to Triple-A Memphis following Tuesday's win clear a roster spot for newly-acquired reliever Edward Mujica.
Rosenthal made four appearances after being summoned from the Double-A rotation earlier in the month. He had dominated so much as a starter at that level (2.78 ERA) that the Cardinals felt he would be better served by moving to Memphis and not back to Springfield.
"He did a great job for us," manager Mike Matheny said. "I'm excited with what we saw. He's ready to pitch here. Everything he did, he did well."
The Cardinals organization was mourning the loss of a friend on Tuesday after receiving word that Tom James, a longtime volunteer in the Cardinals' press box, was found dead at his home. Foul play is not suspected in James' death.
James, who was born in 1968, regularly assisted St. Louis media members with statistics and historical information. He was also a help to broadcasters who came to town to call Cards games on national telecasts. James began working at Cardinals games more than two decades ago. His involvement in the St. Louis-area sports scene extended beyond the Cards as well.
Triple-A starter Shelby Miller earned just his second win in his last 10 starts, as he led Triple-A Memphis over Round Rock on Monday. Miller allowed two earned runs on eight hits in seven innings. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.