Jordan Hicks makes historic return for St. Louis Cardinals
The New York Mets welcomed back the Cardinals’ Jordan Hicks with a 22-pitch plate appearance. Yeah, you read that right.
Jordan Hicks made his return to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday and boy, was he ever thrown into the fire.
Luis Guillorme, the first batter he faced in his return, walked … on a 22-pitch plate appearance. Here’s video of the at-bat with a pitch-by-pitch breakdown:
1: Called strike.
2: Swinging strike.
Ouch. Welcome back, Hicks.
Hicks threw more 99+ mph pitches in the at-bat vs. Guillorme (9) than 10 teams did in the 2020 regular season (Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Angels, Washington Nationals, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians, Oakland A’s), according to the Cespedes Family BBQ.
It was certainly not the way Hicks envisioned returning after missing 21 months, but it has been one of, if not the highlight, of any spring training game so far. While the result is meaningless in the long haul, the fact that Hicks has returned for the Cardinals and came out of the plate appearance healthy is a very encouraging sign for the team moving forward.
Hicks is expected to be the Cardinals’ closer in 2021 and having him at the back-end of the bullpen offers stability. His 100+ mph fastball overpowers hitters and can be one of the best pitches in the game when he controls it. If he stays healthy, which has proven to be a big if, he has the upside to be one of the best closers in baseball, not just the National League.
His return was a huge milestone for both the team and player. It just so happened to be a historic return, as well.