MLB notes: Cards' Jaime Garcia set to begin throwing

Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia is ready to start throwing in two weeks. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty...

Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia is ready to start throwing in two weeks. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images/AFP)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:25 PM ET

St. Louis Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia is two weeks away from throwing post-surgery.

Although the 27-year-old southpaw likely won’t take the mound this season, Garcia could take bullpen sessions before the end of the 2013 season.

“I'm very excited where I am,” Garcia told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Everything's going good."

After jumping out to a 5-2 start this season, Garcia underwent shoulder surgery in May to repair tears in his rotator cuff and labrum.

Garcia hopes to return in time for spring training and could play winter ball if permitted.

WILSON TAKES MOUND

Los Angeles Dodgers closer Brian Wilson returned to the mound for the first time Wednesday night since undergoing Tommy John surgery last April.

Sporting his customary beard in an inning of work with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the slightly off-kilter Wilson retired all three batters he faced in an inning of work.

Following his eight-pitch outing, Wilson said he was happy to once again feel the adrenaline of competition.

“Just get your feet wet, another bump up from simulated games, go out and throw competitive pitches,” Wilson, whose fastball hit 91 mph, told the Los Angeles Times. “Arm feels fine. That’s what we’re here to do.”

Wilson hinted he’ll need at least a half-dozen more innings at Triple-A Albuquerque before the Dodgers will consider a return to the majors.

ZIMMERMAN TO 1B?

The Washington Nationals will consider moving Gold Glover Ryan Zimmerman to first base if he continues to struggle defensively at third.

Nats manager Davey Johnson said he’s surprised it has taken the 27-year-old Zimmerman so long to completely cover from off-season shoulder surgery, which has seen his accuracy on throws from third to first slip.

"I think with the work he is putting in, I knew it would take until June," Johnson said. "But obviously it has taken a little longer. If you see him throw early, he throws deeper and throws the ball on line."

"At one time he had a cannon," Johnson continued. "We are all waiting for him to come back. I still think it is more mental and not just trusting and cutting loose."

Johnson said he and team president Mike Rizzo will sit down at the end of the season and mull over the club’s roster, at which time a decision on Zimmerman will be made.

"He works hard at it,” Johnson said. “When you have that problem, you start thinking it through mentally and wondering, 'Where is my arm supposed to go?' I think he will get it. It has just been longer than I thought."

UTLEY RE-SIGNS

The Philadelphia Phillies and Chase Utley agreed on a contract extension that could see the infielder play a total of 15 years in a Phillies uniform.

Utley, who was bound for the free agent market this winter, inked a two-year deal, which includes three one-year options. Philadelphia is only the club the second baseman has ever known, playing for them since 2003.

The 34-year-old will earn $15 million next season, according to FOXSports.com. In 2015, Utley is guaranteed $10 million and could bank another $5 million if he stays healthy.

The three one-year options are said to be worth a total of $45 million. The options depend heavily on Utley's health.

Heading into Thursday’s action, Utley, a five-time all-star, was batting .277 with 15 home runs in 31 games this year.

MCGWIRE ON PEDS

Former home run champ Mark McGwire, an admitted steroid user during his playing days, believes Major League Baseball needs to crack down even harder on performance-enhancing drug use.

McGwire, now 49 and a hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, told reporters Thursday he's "really hoping and praying" the latest string of PED-related suspensions are "going to be the end of it."

"Just get rid of it," McGwire said. "If that means it's better to have bigger suspensions, then they're going to have to change it."

Thirteen players, including New York Yankees star third baseman Alex Rodriguez, were suspended Monday for their link to Florida-based anti-aging clinic Biogenesis of America.

McGwire, who retired as a player in 2001, hit 580 home runs for the Oakland A's and St. Louis Cardinals. He has been denied entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame based on PED use.

"I wish I was never a part of it," McGwire said of the so-called steroid era. "I wish there were things (testing and suspension) in place earlier. I'm just really hoping and praying that this is going to be the end of it. Everybody -- especially the players -- they don't want any more part of it.”

SABATHIA CALLED OUT

Is CC Sabathia better off plump?

That’s a question being tossed around this week as the New York Yankees pitcher continues to post subpar numbers.

First, the Boston Globe quoted an anonymous MLB scout who said Sabathia’s off-season weight loss left him too skinny to start the year. It has created a balance problem for the 33-year-old south paw, according to the scout.

“Sometimes you pitch at a certain weight all your life and then someone has the brilliant idea that you should lose weight because it’s putting stress on your knees, you do it, and then you’re dealing with something else,” added the scout.

In 160 innings this season, Sabathia has posted a 9-10 with a 4.73 ERA. On MLB.com, the former Cleveland Indians ace is listed at 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds.

Wednesday, former big-leaguer Larry Bowa, now a commentator for MLB Network, piled on.

“To me, personally, I think he's lost too much weight,” Bowa said of Sabathia. “I really do. And I've seen some big pitchers pitch. I could care less how much they weigh. I want CC to put that weight back on. Look at how skinny this guy looks right now.

"C'mon CC, get back after those burgers because I know you can do it. This guy is a big-time pitcher and for them to get to the playoffs, he has to respond.”

BRIEFLY: The Texas Rangers reportedly put in a claim on Chicago White Sox outfielder Alex Rios ... The Cleveland Indians announced that they’ve designated slumping slugger Mark Reynolds for assignment … Texas Rangers righty Colby Lewis announced he’s given up on a return this season and will undergo surgery to remove bone spurs and chips from his right hip, an operation that will require 6-8 weeks of recovery … The Phillies claimed 28-year-old outfielder Casper Wells off waivers. Wells will be added to the roster this weekend in Washington, according to Philly.com … The Chicago Cubs have placed 35-year-old right-handed reliever Mat Guerrier on the 60-Day disabled list.


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