However, according to an MLB.com report, it could be some time before he makes it back to the mound after suffering another setback. Gonzales reportedly “felt tightness” near his left pectoral after tossing on flat ground Saturday and will head to St. Louis to be re-evaluated.
Gonzales, who made his big league debut last season at age 22 with the Cardinals, pitched as recently as last Tuesday, when he tossed six innings of one-run ball, striking out seven without any issue.
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The 2013 first-round pick has struggled in limited action this season, pitching to a 6.35 ERA in eight starts with Triple-A Memphis. Simply put, he’s just missed bats, as he’s allowed 37 base hits in just over 28 innings pitched – which comes out to a 1.588 WHIP.
His strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.75 is also a noticeable drop-off from last season, when he notched 117 strikeouts to just 27 base-on-balls, splitting time between High-A, Double-A and Triple-A in just his second professional season.
Currently, St. Louis boasts several left-handed options on its pitching staff. In the starting rotation, Mike Matheny has just one southpaw in the aforementioned Garcia, who has to be considered a question mark moving forward until he shows he can be both durable and consistent coming off injuries.
In the bullpen, the Cardinals have the likes of veteran Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist from the left side. Choate has held opposing hitters to a .235 clip this season, while Siegrist has been nothing short of lights-out; he carries a 0.96 ERA and has struck-out 23 batters in just 18 2/3 innings of work.
While Gonzales is entering just his third season of professional baseball, there’s no doubt that having him healthy and available if needed would be a huge insurance policy for the first-place Cardinals.
The team is expected to provide an update on the left-hander by Wednesday.