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MLB roundup: Cardinals take Garcia off roster

The SportsXchange

Left-hander Jaime Garcia was removed from the St. Louis Cardinals' NL Division Series roster Tuesday due to a left shoulder injury.

Garcia started Game 2 against the Washington Nationals but left after two innings. An MRI revealed a strained rotator cuff and inflammation in his throwing shoulder.

He was replaced by rookie right-hander Shelby Miller. The move rules out Garcia from participating in the NL Championship Series if the Cardinals advance.

"We're in the playoffs," Garcia told reporters. "I want to be there for my team. I want to be able to help out, but I just realized that once the game started, it never got better. I never got warm, and I had to say something. I made the decision. I said something at the right time, and we still won the game. It was a really hard decision for me to say something."

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Monday that several teammates were upset when they heard Garcia opted to pitch without letting anyone know. Manager Mike Matheny dismissed the notion that Garcia should've revealed the situation.

"He went back and forth just like every guy does," Matheny told reporters. "You don't know exactly how you're going to feel until you get out there. There are times you don't feel good, and I know that we have had some pitchers wondering if they can make pitch one, and next thing you know, they are standing on top of the mound in the eighth inning.

--Johnny Cueto's postseason might be over after eight pitches.

Cueto, the Cincinnati Reds' ace right-hander, is dealing with a mild right oblique strain, team trainer Paul Lessard said Tuesday. It's uncertain when or if Cueto will be able to pitch again in the postseason.

When Cueto left his start Saturday in the first inning of Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the San Francisco Giants, the Reds announced that he was experiencing back spasms. The diagnosis changed Tuesday.

"They said he's getting better, but we don't know what better is," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "That's a volatile area. You've seen the obliques, sometimes they hang around for a while, and sometimes they don't hang around for a while. We don't know the severity of it."

--With one hit and five strikeouts through nine at-bats in the American League Division Series, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez hasn't been performing like a middle-of-the-order hitter.

It's possible he won't be in that part of the lineup when the best-of-five series against the Baltimore Orioles, which is tied 1-1, resumes Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

A source told ESPNNewYork.com that the team is "seriously considering" bumping Rodriguez down to the lower portion of the batting order.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi wouldn't guarantee that Rodriguez would remain his No. 3 hitter moving forward.

--Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton appears destined to become a free agent.

The team won't make any offers to the slugger during the team's exclusive negotiating window, meaning he will hit the open market.

Rangers' general manager Jon Daniels told ESPN.com that the team agreed with Hamilton's agents that the outfielder would field offers.

"The realities are when a guy goes out and tests the market and it's this close, you're not going to pre-empt it," Daniels said. "I think he's going to go out and test the market and see what's out there and get back to us."

Hamilton, 31, hit .285 with 43 home runs and 128 RBI in his fifth season in Texas. He struggled offensively at the end, and made a costly fielding error in the game that gave the AL West to the Oakland A's. His drop of a shallow fly ball turned a tie game into a 7-5 lead for Oakland, who went on to win, 12-5.

--Serious conversations between the Boston Red Sox and free-agent designated hitter David Ortiz will begin "next week," a team source told ESPN.com.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told reporters shortly after the season ended that retaining Ortiz was a priority.

"David is someone who we feel strongly about bringing back, and we're trying to figure out a way to do that and we hope that happens," Cherington said in New York.

The 36-year-old missed all but one of the team's final 72 games with a right Achilles strain. He told reporters last week in New York that he expects to begin his normal workout routine next month.

Ortiz batted .318 with 23 homers and 60 RBI in 90 games. Last year, he accepted arbitration from the Red Sox, and eventually signed a one-year, $14.58 million contract.

--While postseason television ratings are up over 2011 numbers, regional broadcasts during the regular season saw record-low viewership figures.

FOX averaged a 1.7 rating and 2.5 million viewers for its Saturday regionalized telecasts during the 2012 regular season, the lowest numbers since the network acquired the television rights before the 1996 season, according to The Sports Business Daily.

The previous three seasons had seen steady numbers of 1.8 ratings and 2.7 million viewers. The Saturday telecasts were impacted by the Olympics, as this marked the fifth straight Summer Games in which Saturday MLB television ratings declined.

Meanwhile, ESPN averaged a 1.2 U.S. rating and 1.8 million viewers for "Sunday Night Baseball," according to The Daily. That marks the lowest ratings since 2005 and is 20 and 22 percent, respectively, down from last season.

The silver lining was MLB Network, which averaged 220,000 viewers for its regular-season games, up from 207,000 in 2011.
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