St. Louis Cardinals: Brett Cecil undergoes carpal tunnel surgery

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ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 11: Brett Cecil #27 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on August 11, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 11: Brett Cecil #27 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on August 11, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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St. Louis Cardinals reliever Brett Cecil had surgery on his left wrist because of carpal tunnel symptoms, further delaying his return to action.

Struggling St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Brett Cecil continues to face problems, as the carpal tunnel problems that kept him out of action required surgery earlier this week and will keep him out indefinitely.

Cecil was originally placed on the injured list at the beginning of the season because of a lack of feeling in his fingers as well as arm fatigue. Before he was placed on the IL, Cecil was tinkering with his mechanics throughout Spring Training. He was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day IL on March 28 after not showing signs of progress.

Cecil has struggled massively during his tenure with the Cardinals, especially in 2018. He has thrown 100 innings for the team in his past two seasons, recording an unappealing ERA of 4.86 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 85/41. In 2018, he only managed to pitch 32.2 innings and allowed 25 runs, while picking up just 19 strikeouts and walking 25.

Without Cecil, the Cardinals were relying on Andrew Miller to serve as the lone left-hander out of the bullpen, but the team recently recalled Tyler Webb as Miller has been downright awful to start the year. The team could also dip into the minors and call up Chasen Shreve from AAA Memphis.

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Cecil faced personal issues last season in addition to on-field troubles, experiencing the severe illness of his mother-in-law and the death of his father-in-law, grandfather and dog. Cecil also adhered to a new diet to improve his conditioning, and he lost 42 pounds between seasons.

The Cardinals will continue to roll with a bullpen of Miller, Dakota Hudson, Dominic Leone, John Gant, Mike Mayers, Jordan Hicks, John Brebbia and now Webb and Giovanny Gallegos with Alex Reyes and Yairo Munoz being sent to the minors for a tuneup. If and when Cecil returns, the Cardinals will either have to make room for him on the roster or release him and eat the remainder of his four-year, $30.5M contract.

As a fan, my knee-jerk reaction would be to release Cecil immediately. But I’m not the one who paid a fortune for him to produce. His previous timetable for return was two months, and it could be longer than that now. But I can understand why the team would be willing to give him another chance. Hopefully, Cecil has been able to get past the family troubles, and maybe being in better condition will improve his performance as well.

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Miller hasn’t looked good to start the season, and while the team isn’t in a terrible spot against left-handers, a healthy and productive Cecil could create a more well-rounded bullpen. If the bullpen shows that it needs him, I think he deserves one more shot. But if he continues to play poorly, I won’t hesitate to jump on the release bandwagon.

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