ST. LOUIS >> Former University of Hawaii player Greg Garcia has been called up to join former UH teammate Kolten Wong on the St. Louis Cardinal’s roster.
Garcia is filling in for infielder Mark Ellis, who was placed on the disabled list Tuesday with an oblique strain.
It is the second time the left-handed-hitting Garcia has been recalled to the big-league roster. He scored three runs Monday night in the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliates victory at El Paso, Texas. Since July 29, he’s hitting .368.
Ellis has been the Cardinals’ primary backup at second base and a right-handed-hitting option behind Wong. Ellis has also started at first base and offered an option at third base as well. Without him on the bench, the Cardinals lean decidedly left.
Garcia can be a backup at both middle infield spots.
He played his way onto the depth chart last season with a strong turn as the Redbirds’ shortstop. He has been playing second base this season with Pete Kozma at Class AAA.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said Ellis’ injury happened before the game on Monday and wasn’t a long-standing situation. He said that it didn’t look serious and that Ellis could be ready to play in 15 days.
As for Garcia, he was hitting .273 with eight home runs in 103 games at Memphis and had found his stroke in August.
“I think he’s had the type of year that he deserves the opportunity to help us,” Matheny said. “He’s had a nice season and is a pretty versatile guy.”
“I’m just trying to take consistent at-bats,” Garcia said. “Trying to battle every time I’m out there. I feel good right now.”
During Garcia’s last stint in the majors, he won a game for the Cardinals with a walk-off hit-by-pitch. After the game, he was sent back to Memphis to make room for Wong.
“It was a great memory, and then I went down to Memphis,” Garcia said. “It is what it is. I still think about that night. It was a fun night and hopefully many more.”