With his team down one game in the National League Division Series, Jaime García knew that the St. Louis Cardinals were counting on him to even the series -without knowing what he knew: his left pitching shoulder was not "100 percent".
So he went out anyway and just tried to gut it out in his first playoff start.
In the end it turned out not to be a smart decision, as the shoulder that García has heavily relied on decided 'enough was enough' during his two-inning stint Monday night. He was immediately pulled out after informing the team of his discomfort.
By then the damage was already done.
An MRI revealed a rotator cuff strain and inflammation in his left shoulder. Earlier this season, the 26-year-old Mexican missed 64 days. He was back in the rotation in late August after a rigorous rehabilitation program.
García told Fox News Latino he would be seeking a second opinion from the New York Mets team doctor to get a clear understanding of what options he should seek.
I want to be able to help out, but I realized once the game started that it never got better, it never got warm. I had to say something.
- Jaime García
Injuries have set him back, but somehow he's always bounced back. He underwent Tommy John surgery after the 2008 season and missed most of the 2009 season. Now it's the shoulder.
"It worries me a lot because it's my career, it's my arm and it's something that is delicate. But at the same time I have confidence and faith in God that whatever happens to my arm, everything will come out fine and just go forward," García said in Spanish after the Cardinals concluded their workout at Nationals Park on Tuesday afternoon.
Some pitchers go through years without experiencing major injuries. They do deal with the minor aches and pains García had to deal with since returning late this season. Yet for him it it's been a recurring issue, something that at first was thought to be a season-ending injury.
"I really don't know. I work very hard. I do everything I have to. I prepare myself very well to go forward and do the best I can but sometimes you don't know why things happen," García said.
According to a report in the St. Louis-Post Dispatch, some teammates were not too happy with the fact that, with so much at stake, García still went out there to pitch under the conditions he was in. Later he confessed to his manager, but only after escaping the first inning with two walks and then escaping a jam in the second and final inning despite giving up a run.
It's normal to see players that play almost everyday grind it out through ailments. We see it a lot in football and basketball.
García said that he thinks the shoulder started to act up during the late stages of his final start against Cincinnati on October 1. A few days later he threw on the side and the pain persisted but he kept it all to himself.
"I've had stuff in my shoulder happen before, where it hasn't been 100 percent. It was one of those things that I wanted to learn how to pitch with a little something in my shoulder and be fine with it. I thought it was one of those things," García said.
"We are in the playoffs, you know. I want to be there for my team. I want to be able to help out but I just realized once the game started that it never got better, it never got warm. I had to say something. I made the decision."
"It was a really really hard decision to say something."
In the end the, "let's do it for the team" mentality might have backfired.