SAN DIEGO -- The road from Memphis to St. Louis will continue to be an important one for Cardinals prospects through at least the 2014 season: St. Louis announced Tuesday that they have extended their player development contract with Memphis for two years.
The move means that the relationship between the Cardinals and Memphis will grow to at least 17 years in a partnership that dates back to 1998, the Redbirds' first season of play in the Pacific Coast League.
"We are very pleased to have extended our relationship with the Redbirds organization and the city of Memphis for an additional two years," said John Mozeliak, Cardinals' Senior Vice President and General Manager. "The Redbirds ballclub and the Memphis fans have been tremendous supporters of the Cardinals organization for many years. AutoZone Park is considered to be among the finest ballparks in the country and we feel that there is no better place to develop Cardinals players who are one level away from reaching St. Louis and the Major Leagues."
Since the partnership began, Memphis has won two Pacific Coast League Championships. Thirty-two of the 40 players on the current St. Louis roster donned Memphis jerseys at some point prior to their time with the big club.
The Redbirds were sixth in the 16-team PCL in attendance this season, averaging just under 7,000 fans in 2012.
Cards commemorate 9/11 with trip to Naval Base
SAN DIEGO -- For many members of the Cardinals family, the 11th anniversary of attacks of September 11th was in the presence of those who have played a major role in the nation's military response to the tragedy: U.S. Navy SEALs.
Players Tony Cruz, Pete Kozma, and Shane Robinson were among the Cardinals contingent that made the trip to the U.S. Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado. The group was shown a video on the SEAL experience, got to watch some SEAL training from afar, and met some of the current SEALs.
"Those guys are a different breed. Their attention to detail, the training they go through ... I was like 'I don't think I could ever do this,'" Robinson said. "It was good to see what those guys go through and know that they're on our side. It was an honor to be there."
While the players said the September 11th anniversary wasn't a major point of emphasis, the group was shown a memorial to fallen SEALS, some of whom served in the response to the attacks.
"They were saying they would never have suspected on September 10  that something like that would happen, so now they have people deployed throughout the country to be ready for anything," Robinson said. "Listening to what they had to say, you're just like 'Wow, this stuff is serious.' I didn't know too much about everything that they did, but they do it all. I was very impressed."
"It was awesome," Kozma said. "It was really cool to be there, see what they do. We saw them actually working, the whole facility, the gym -- it was pretty cool."
The group also got to try their hand at the base's shooting range. And while the players said that was an experience in itself, the overwhelming takeaway across the board was the sacrifices and effort the SEALs are putting in on behalf of their countrymen.
"Honestly, just hearing what they go through, some of the horror stories ... I'm married, I have kids, I was wondering how they go over there, do those things, and then just turn it off," Robinson said. "I have huge respect for what they do."
Garcia still scheduled for next start
SAN DIEGO -- After another shaky road outing on Monday, lefty Jaime Garcia is still scheduled to make his next start Saturday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, who entered Tuesday's night's games just a game back of St. Louis in the Wild Card standings.
Garcia gave up four runs in just three innings of work Monday, running his road ERA on the season to 6.19, as opposed to a 2.63 mark at Busch Stadium. The gap between his home and road performance is particularly troublesome given his next three outings including Saturday's are scheduled to come on the road.
Yet the Cardinals position in the standings leaves them unable to punt starts in order to give Garcia time to figure out what is a career-long issue -- a fact that manager Mike Matheny said has the team "considering everything."
"Not yet," Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said when asked if the team had made any changes to the scheduled rotation to account for Garcia's struggles. "I don't know if we will, but certainly last night was disappointing. I know before I left the ballpark I spoke to Mike Matheny a little bit about it, but we did not come to a conclusion."
Mozeliak said that in making a decision regarding the enigmatic Garcia, the team is weighing the fact that physically, he appears fit to perform. The Cardinals would also need to decide who might fill in for the 26-year-old.
Mozeliak said Chris Carpenter, scheduled for what would be his final simulated game on Saturday, is not an option at this time. Instead, rookies Shelby Miller, who pitched three innings Monday night, and Trevor Rosenthal would be the likely replacements if the team opted to drop Garcia from the rotation.
Regardless of whether the team takes action regarding Garcia's spot in the rotation, the consensus is clear: his problems on the road are a legitimate problem that the team has to figure out sooner rather than later.
"In terms of body language, he just seems to be a little bit more fidgety or nervous at times when he's on the road," Mozeliak said. "We try to consider all the different angles, and we need to try to put him in a position where he feels he can be successful."
Chelsea Janes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.