Cardinals: Jordan Hicks impressing early at spring training

Pitcher Jordan Hicks hasn’t pitched in two years, but he is back for the Cardinals this spring. Word is, he is already impressing the coaching staff.

The return of Jordan Hicks, the St. Louis Cardinals‘ flame throwing right-handed pitcher, has been long awaited by the organization. He has not pitched since June 2019 after undergoing elbow surgery and opted out of the 2020 season for health reasons.

Now, Hicks is back and threw an impressive bullpen last Wednesday, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“All the feedback from the pitching coaches, and including Jordan, was very favorable,” manager Mike Shildt said. “We’ll see how he recovers. But a very positive first day for Jordan Hicks, no question about it.”

Of course, that is to be expected at spring training. Teams are always optimistic about their players, especially early on, and seeing Hicks on the mound once again had to feel good for both sides. But if Hicks can return to the level he pitched at before the injury, a 3.47 ERA arm capable of touching 105 mph on the radar gun, the Cardinals bullpen would become even more dangerous.

In a season where pitching depth has never been more critical, as teams fear they do not have enough arms as baseball jumps from a 60 to 162-game schedule, Hicks could be a rather important piece of the puzzle for the Cardinals. He could help protect a rotation that comes with question marks. He could provide stability in the late innings. He could do many things, and that is something that excites the Cardinals. It gives them options.

How Hicks progresses throughout spring training will be key, especially as teams ramp up bullpens and turn to live game action. But if he can return to what he was, an already dangerous Cardinals team will become that much more potent.