St. Louis Cardinals News: Miles Mikolas injury update

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 12: Miles Mikolas #39 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 12, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Cardinals defeated the Rockies 10-3. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 12: Miles Mikolas #39 of the St. Louis Cardinals pitches during the game against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on September 12, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Cardinals defeated the Rockies 10-3. (Photo by Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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The St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation was always expected to start the season with uncertainty, specifically how they would fill the back-end of the rotation. But the injury to Miles Mikolas, who was already coming off a forearm injury, put them in an even more precarious position before Opening Day.

Mikolas, who suffered the setback almost a month ago, still is not close to returning. But he recently progressed to facing live hitters for the first time since Feb. 25, manager Mike Shildt told reporters, including Zachary Silver of MLB.com.

Mikolas, of course, missed all of last season after undergoing surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his right forearm. In his first bullpen session this spring, he went “too full-throttle” and ultimately led to his shoulder discomfort. While he has only been limited to fastballs and changeups — he’s staying away from his other breaking pitches — the Cardinals are hopeful that he can return at some point close to late May.

The Cardinals have not had the Opening Day rotation that they envisioned all winter. The injuries to Mikolas and Kwang-hyun Kim set them back to start the season. But they are cautiously optimistic that Mikolas can be an effective pitcher once he returns, though he needs to throw breaking pitches and show that he is 100 percent healthy before he can think about returning.

But Mikolas, like Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill, is progressing. He is further behind than the other two. But the Cardinals are (slowly) getting their roster healthy and should have an important part of their rotation, a player who won 18 games in 2018, return well before midseason and stabilize their rotation.

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For a Cardinals team that is 8-9, their returns cannot come soon enough. Especially Mikolas.