Finally, some positive St Louis Cardinals news: After losing Wade LeBlanc to the injured list, it appears that his absence won’t be an extended one.
The St. Louis Cardinals were this close to having their rotation back at full strength. Jack Flaherty was days away from returning and Miles Mikolas wouldn’t be too far behind. Then Kwang Hyun Kim was missing starts with an elbow injury and then Wade LeBlanc departed from a recent start against the Pittsburgh Pirates with elbow soreness.
The Cardinals, however, received good news about LeBlanc, with manager Mike Shildt saying (via Katie Woo of The Athletic) that there is no concern structurally after further imaging on the left-handers elbow, calling the results “super encouraging.”
It would seem to suggest that LeBlanc will not miss more than 10 days on the injured list, though Shildt is going to consult the medical staff to lay out the next steps. But getting LeBlanc back soon, and possibly having him only miss two starts, is about as good of news as the Cardinals could have hoped for.
The impact of losing LeBlanc, 37, was immediately relieved when Flaherty returned on Friday and dominated against the Kansas City Royals. They also have left-hander J.A. Happ, who has impressed in two starts, as a logical fill-in for LeBlanc. But having him healthy and in the rotation allows the Cardinals to get creative with the pitching staff, possibly moving Jon Lester to the bullpen, and opening up possibilities for other moves.
The Cardinals will have more flexibility once Miles Mikolas comes off the IL and if Kim recovers from an elbow injury before the season ends. It’s why they sought Happ and Lester at the deadline even as they were not on the radars of many, if any, reporters before July 30.
But LeBlanc has been better than anyone could have imagined, posting a 3.61 ERA in eight starts, and may have earned a spot in the rotation even with Flaherty back and Mikolas and possibly Kim not far behind.
Hence why it was so important for them to learn that LeBlanc’s absence won’t be an extended one.