PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Jaime Garcia took the mound Thursday for his second Grapefruit League start this spring. It was much better than his first one, six days earlier.
Garcia gave up three runs and two homers in the first inning of his spring debut against the Astros on March 4. He tossed 3 2/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits with one walk and two strikeouts on Thursday in the Cardinals' 7-2 loss to the Mets at Tradition Field.
Garcia assessed it as another day at the office, where he's simply trying to make progress with each outing. Cardinals catcher Brayan Pena, who was behind the plate to catch Garcia in a game for the first time, was in awe of the movement that Garcia had on his pitches.
"Man, it's amazing," Pena said. "You always have to be on your toes when you're behind home plate [catching Garcia]. He's good. He was attacking the strike zone with all the pitches. He was very impressive."
Matheny said it appeared that Garcia's pitches were dancing from his vantage point in the Cardinals dugout.
"Happy to see the movement," Matheny said. "He used more of his full arsenal. I thought he used everything a little better today."
Garcia said he mixed it up Thursday more than in his first start this spring, and he threw some pitches that he didn't throw against the Astros.
"Threw more sinkers," Garcia said. "Things that you're adding and working on each time that you go out there. I don't look at results, just focus on the process."
Around the horn
• Matt Adams hit his first home run of the spring, a two-run shot over the left-field wall at Tradition Field in the fourth inning that staked the Cardinals to a 2-0 lead. "The wind has been blowing a little bit in that direction, but he's still hammering the ball the other way," Matheny said of the left-handed slugger's power to the opposite field. "Using the whole field. I know that's something that he's wanted to do, and I think he's on the right track. Good at-bats all day."
• Matheny said he's not certain when catcher Yadier Molina will make his next start in a spring game, but he added that the veteran catcher had no issues Thursday morning with his surgically repaired left thumb after making his first spring appearance in a game Wednesday. "Everything checked out great," Matheny said. "Right now, this is like a rehab schedule that he's on. It's not a 'We're going to control your workload' schedule. This is, 'How do we get him ready for the season,' and it has nothing to do with anything else."
Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.