What the St. Louis Cardinals can expect from Miles Mikolas

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Miles Mikolas #39 of the St. Louis Cardinals of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the first inning at Busch Stadium on May 22, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Miles Mikolas #39 of the St. Louis Cardinals of the Chicago Cubs pitches in the first inning at Busch Stadium on May 22, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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Getting Miles Mikolas back is important for the St Louis Cardinals. But given his extensive injury history, what can they expect?

If the St. Louis Cardinals are going to make the playoffs, and that seems like a longshot right now, they are going to need all hands on deck. They’ll need their offense to step up. They’ll need their pitchers to continue to perform at a high level. Most importantly, however, they’ll need to get healthy.

Whenever it seems like the Cardinals are taking one step toward getting healthy, they take two steps back. But right-handed pitcher Miles Mikolas, who has been on the injured list for most of the season with an elbow injury, is scheduled to return on Friday, manager Mike Shildt told reporters, including Katie Woo of The Athletic.

Getting Mikolas back is an important step for the rotation getting back to 100 percent health, with left-handed starters Kwang Hyun Kim and Wade LeBlanc also on the IL. But can the Cardinals count on Mikolas when he does return?

Mikolas, 32, has appeared in only four innings since 2019. He has battled numerous serious injuries, most notably the elbow injury that required Tommy John, and most recently suffered a forearm injury that put him on the 60-day IL. He has made five rehab appearances, so his arm is built up to rejoin the rotation, though he registered a 4.07 ERA and 17/4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 24.1 innings.

Even getting that level of production out of Mikolas would be a win for the Cardinals. He is no longer the same pitcher who won 18 games in 2018, now settling in as a back-end starter. If he stays healthy, it gives the Cardinals yet another option in a rotation that suddenly has plenty of arms — and more to come.

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If he doesn’t stay healthy, however, the Cardinals will be armed with enough pitchers to get by. It remains to be seen whether he can stay healthy, with the team being cautiously optimistic that he can do so. But the Cardinals will finally get him back — and it couldn’t have come at a better time, with the team in the middle of a postseason face and set to face the division leading Milwaukee Brewers 13 more times.

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