ST. LOUIS -- Triple-A first baseman Matt Adams, who was almost certain to be a September callup, underwent season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs in his right elbow on Tuesday.
The news is discouraging for the Cardinals, who could have added Adams back onto the big league team when rosters expand on Sept. 1. Though Adams likely would have made few starts during the season's final month, he would have been another left-handed power bat available off the bench.
Adams' right elbow first began to bother him in late April, though he played through the discomfort and even earned a callup to the Majors in May. The discomfort flared up again in late June, prompting the Cardinals to place Adams on the Minor League disabled list.
When he sought a doctor's opinion in July, Adams was told that as long as he could tolerate the pain, he could finish the season without risking additional damage to his elbow. The hope was that Adams could then address the issue with a procedure during the offseason.
That diagnosis turned out to be too optimistic.
"We tried to manage through it, but it was affecting him in a negative way and he felt it was time," general manager John Mozeliak said. "It hurt when he would swing, not every swing, but it got to a point where he was no longer comfortable. Rather than fight through it, we thought it made sense to have the surgery now so that he would have a normal offseason."
Mozeliak said Adams is expected to be able to swing a bat again in about four to six weeks.
During a 27-game stint with the Cardinals this year, Adams hit .244. In the 22 Triple-A games he played after returning from the DL, Adams posted a .284 average, five homers and 14 RBIs. He last played on Friday. In all, Adams hit .329 with 22 doubles, 18 homers and 50 RBIs in 67 Triple-A games.
Adams is currently ranked by MLB.com as the Cardinals' seventh-best prospect and baseball's third-best prospect at first base.
Garcia solid in Triple-A rehab outing
ST. LOUIS -- In what was likely to be his final Minor League rehab appearance, left-hander Jaime Garcia threw 93 pitches in a five-inning effort for Triple-A Memphis on Tuesday.
This marked the fourth rehab start for Garcia, who has been out of the Cardinals' rotation for two months while nursing a left shoulder injury. Garcia's first came in the Gulf Coast League, after which he pitched twice for Double-A Springfield.
He allowed four hits, including a two-run home run, to Salt Lake on Tuesday. Garcia also had three walks and eight strikeouts. Of the 93 pitches Garcia threw, 60 were strikes. He exited the game with Memphis trailing, 2-0.
Garcia is expected to return to St. Louis on Wednesday, where the Cardinals will monitor how his arm responds in the 24 hours after this start. If the organization is confident that Garcia is fully healthy and satisfied with what he showed in his four Minor League starts, he will most likely be activated from the disabled list before the end of the weekend.
The Cardinals have not announced whose rotation spot Garcia will take, but the expectation is that when Garcia returns, he will do so as a starter. Perhaps not coincidentally, his start falls on the same night Joe Kelly was starting in St. Louis. It was Kelly who took Garcia's place in the rotation back in June, and Kelly is a candidate to be bumped upon Garcia's return now.
With more experience, Rosenthal called up
ST. LOUIS -- Nearly a month after Trevor Rosenthal made his Major League debut, the 22-year-old right-hander found himself back in the Cardinals clubhouse on Tuesday. After a brief stint in Triple-A, Rosenthal was recalled to St. Louis to replace reliever Brian Fuentes, who has been placed on the restricted list.
Rosenthal threw a scoreless inning on July 18 in his first appearance with the Cardinals, and posted a 4.50 ERA in four outings before having been optioned to Triple-A on Aug. 1. Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said there is no particular plan in place for how the club intends to use Rosenthal.
"He gives us another right-handed arm, obviously, but also gives us some depth when you have a pitcher that can go long with high pitch counts," said Matheny. "He's still in the process of working himself into tougher innings, but right now he's healthy and ready to go and we're excited to have him back."
Rosenthal made the jump straight from Double-A to the Majors earlier this season, and was 8-6 with a 2.78 ERA in 17 starts with Springfield. His two starts with Triple-A Memphis after a brief stint in the big leagues were the first of his career.
Rosenthal pitched well in his Triple-A debut on Aug. 3, allowing one run over five innings. But he was roughed up for six runs on five innings in his second outing on Aug. 8. In that second game, Rosenthal issued a leadoff walk, hit two batters and gave up three singles in a four-run first inning.
"There's guys that have had more time and more experience," Rosenthal said of Triple-A. "It was a little different of an environment because guys are a bit more mature. But it's still the same game. I just tried to work hard and keep developing there."
Matheny called Rosenthal's time in Triple-A, "great learning experiences." Rosenthal added he's still sharpening up his pitches and learning the mentality and routine required to pitch at the highest levels.
Rosenthal said he feels more comfortable than the last time he was called up to St. Louis, and will try to prepare himself the same way he always has for whatever role he plays in the Cardinals' bullpen.
"I had a little bit of experience, a little taste of it," Rosenthal said. "So I'm trying to come back and help put us in a position to win and keep working hard. Just come up here and whenever I get the call try to go in there, put up a zero and give us a chance."
Left-hander John Gast has been placed on the Minor League disabled list. General manager John Mozeliak said that Gast is dealing with some shoulder soreness, though the issue is not believed to be serious. Since being promoted from Double-A Springfield, Gast has made 16 Triple-A starts. He is 8-3 with a 4.79 ERA. MLB.com ranks Gast as the organization's eighth-best prospect.
Double-A first baseman Xavier Scruggs earned Texas League Player of the Week honors after going 9-for-21 with six extra-base hits and 11 RBIs in six games last week. Scruggs, a 19th-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, is hitting .255 with a .354 on-base percentage in his first full Double-A season.
Carlos Beltran (83) and Matt Holliday (79) currently rank first and second, respectively, among National League RBI leaders. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, St. Louis has never finished a season with its own two players in the top two spots of that offensive category.
Beltran is currently on pace to drive in 117 runs this year. That would be one more than his career-high of 116, set in 2006. Holliday established his career-best total of 137 RBIs in '07.
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.