The St. Louis Cardinals have been on a scramble lately for pitching depth, and may not be done yet. The team is dealing with two key pitchers Jack Flaherty & Alex Reyes already battling injury upon showing up to Spring Training.
Flaherty, the team’s Opening Day starter in both 2020 & 2021, is possibly not going to be ready by the Cardinals’ April 7 home opener vs the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jack missed much of last season with an oblique injury and this off-season has been having pain in his throwing shoulder.
“I had a little bit of discomfort since the end of last season,” Flaherty said. “It’s just something we worked through and kept working at, and it was kind of up and down. They wanted to get another look at [my shoulder]. The lockout made things difficult to have any type of communication, so they just want to get another look at it. I came in and saw the doctors, and they just want to get another look at it.”
Flaherty had an MRI done on his shoulder on Tuesday and is now said to be seeking a second opinion after getting the results.
“We’re waiting on a second opinion, and until we get that second opinion, it would irresponsible [to discuss his status],” Cardinals’ manager Oliver Marmol said Thursday morning. “It’s the initial test that we’re looking at. So, I think the responsible thing to do is to wait for that second opinion and then lay out everything.”
Flaherty was 9-2 with a 3.22 ERA in 15 starts last season with 85 strikeouts in 78 1/3 innings pitched. In 2020, Jack went 4-3 with a 4.91 ERA in 9 starts (40 1/3 innings), but the Cardinals were hoping he’d be poised for a year that resembled his 2019 breakout season. That season Flaherty went 11-8 with a 2.75 ERA, and had 231 strikeouts in 196 1/3 innings.
If Flaherty is set to miss significant time, the Cardinals may look to Jake Woodford, Drew VerHagen or outside the organization to solidify the rotation that currently includes Adam Wainwright, Steven Matz, Dakota Hudson & Mikes Mikolas.
As for Alex Reyes, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol announced Wednesday morning that Reyes was going to be evaluated by orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, FL to receive therapeutic injections to his right shoulder.
Reyes was expected to be either a force in the bullpen for St. Louis or push to be a starter for this upcoming season, but with his injury and not throwing off of the mound all off-season, the Cardinals see him as several weeks behind schedule. He’s scheduled to rejoin the team on Friday where they will formulate a rehabilitation plan for him. Marmol says he doesn’t expect Reyes to be available by Opening Day.
Reyes was an All-Star in 2021, going 10-8 with a 3.24 ERA with 29 saves. He struck out 95 hitters in 71 1/3 innings last season, and was the Cardinals closer the majority of the year. Giovanny Gallegos currently looks to take over that role for the team in 2022 as he took over for the struggling Reyes late last
The Cardinals have signed a few pitchers this off-season to round out their bullpen, and do have some pitching depth in the minors that they could call upon, but if Reyes is set to be out long, they may need to look outside the organization to fill that void also.