SAN DIEGO -- Despite the grueling travel day, Greg Garcia was happy to be back in his hometown on Sunday, as the Cardinals faced San Diego for the finale of a three-game series at Petco Park.
Garcia, who has been up and down from the Minors this season, went to Valhalla High School in El Cajon, a suburb 15 miles east of Petco Park. He was looking forward to having nine family members in the crowd on Sunday.
Garcia, the Cards' No. 24 prospect, according to MLB.com, found out at late last night that he would be needed in San Diego. He woke up at 3 a.m. CT, got on a flight at 5 a.m. from Memphis to Chicago and eventually landed in San Diego about an hour and a half before the game.
"It was a long day and I'm ready to go," Garcia said.
Garcia started at second base and hit eighth in the batting order in St. Louis' 10-3 win, going 0-for-4.
With Garcia coming up, the Cardinals optioned left-handed pitcher Tyler Lyons to Memphis.
"I imagine we're going to see him back here pretty soon," Matheny said about Lyons. "But right now, we've got to get some offense. Those opportunities for guys coming off the bench have proven to be big lately."
Garcia had one home run, two RBIs and seven hits in his 20 at-bats in the Majors prior to Sunday.
Despite the long travel day and lack of sleep, Garcia said playing in the big leagues in his hometown is too important to not be ready to play and give his best effort.
"I [always] would figure out when they're going to San Diego and just always thought, 'Wouldn't that be awesome?'" Garcia said. "I was up early in August and I said, 'Just hang on, until this trip.' I got sent down and I was watching on TV [the first two nights], wishing I was there. But for it to happen like this and for me to get the start, I'm ecstatic right now and I'm ready to go."
Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.