Back of rotation in flux for series vs. Giants

Cardinals may replace inconsistent Garcia with rookie Reyes in finale

Back of rotation in flux for series vs. Giants

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' pitching plans for Sunday's game against the Giants remain unsettled, manager Mike Matheny said on Wednesday, one day after he yanked Jaime Garcia from another troublesome start after 1 2/3 innings.

Matheny said that internal discussion has begun regarding Garcia's rotation spot. The Cardinals could either leave the fatiguing left-hander in to try and right his recent decline, or they could turn to rookie Alex Reyes, who threw 4 1/3 innings of scoreless relief behind Garcia on Tuesday.

"It's one of those things where we don't have to make a decision today," Matheny said. "Everybody needs to know sooner or later, just sooner doesn't make sense right now."

Matheny said the decision will not be influenced by how the Cardinals fare over the first three games in San Francisco. Sunday's starter will be pitching the final game of that series, which is one that will carry significant National League Wild Card implications.

Garcia is winless in his past six starts, and he has posted an 8.23 ERA during that span. In half of those outings, Garcia has not pitched past the fourth inning. He acknowledged after Tuesday's abbreviated outing that he is feeling fatigued, likely from having already thrown more innings this season (164 2/3) than in any since 2011.

As for Reyes, he has allowed four runs in 28 innings since making his Major League debut. Though the rookie right-hander has an elevated walk rate of 5.1, he has shown an ability to pitch out of trouble no matter his role. He has thrived in long relief, subbed in as a closer, and held his own as a spot starter.

Reyes fans Bryant

• The Cardinals activated right-hander Michael Wacha from the disabled list on Wednesday, and they will have him as an available reliever the rest of the season. How he'll be utilized out of the 'pen remains flexible, though Matheny said he expects Wacha to build up enough arm strength in the coming days to be ready for long-relief opportunities.

• Barring any setbacks, the Cards plan to activate reliever Trevor Rosenthal from the DL on Thursday. Rosenthal, sidelined since July 26 with right shoulder inflammation, has thrown two live batting practice sessions within the last five days.

Matt Holliday (right thumb fracture) will travel with the Cardinals to San Francisco, where he is expected to participate in live BP so that he can test his timing in a simulated setting. The Cards will have one of their extra relievers throw to Holliday as part of that exercise.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.