St. Louis Cardinals: Miles Mikolas might be nearing his return

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Miles Mikolas #39 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers a pitch in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves during the Grapefruit League spring training game at Champion Stadium on March 12, 2019 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Miles Mikolas #39 of the St. Louis Cardinals delivers a pitch in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves during the Grapefruit League spring training game at Champion Stadium on March 12, 2019 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Could Miles Mikolas be close to returning for the St. Louis Cardinals?

The return of Miles Mikolas is something that St. Louis Cardinals executives and coaches have been anxiously awaiting.

Mikolas is someone the team plans to heavily rely upon this season, given their lack of pursuit of top free-agent starting pitchers this winter. The team thought he would be ready to return to action at the start of spring training, but he has instead been sidelined for two weeks because of a “creaky” shoulder. He was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Sunday, but instead will throw an “aggressive” bullpen session on Wednesday, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

If all goes well, and Mikolas comes out of the session feeling healthy, he should be on pace to make the rotation for Opening Day. But the Cardinals are being careful setting expectations for Mikolas, given that his recovery from forearm surgery has already experienced some ups and downs, and that he is not the team’s Opening Day starter.

“We don’t need to push to be pushing,” Shildt said. “We don’t need to be throwing a bullpen (session) to check off and feel like we’re working our way back. … The soreness is all but gone. The shoulder feels comfortable and confident. Though we are being a little cautious with Miles, (we) feel like we have a really quality plan with him. We’re encouraged by the direction he’s going, and we want to keep that trend moving in the right direction.”

It is wise for the Cardinals to take a wait-and-see approach with Mikolas. After all, there are no clear answers available in free agency and team’s will be unlikely to trade pieces from their rotation given that 1) it is still spring training and 2) team’s are inclined to hoard pitching depth with concerns rampant about going from a 60 to 162-game season.

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Wednesday’s bullpen session will be telling. How he pitches, and eventually comes out of it, could be an indication of what the Cardinals’ rotation will look like going forward.

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