Cardinals: Jack Flaherty is making progress in return from Injured List
St. Louis Cardinals right-handed ace Jack Flaherty is making progress in return from Injured List. The team needs him. Badly.
The St. Louis Cardinals rotation is in flux. Jack Flaherty has been on the Injured List all season. Steven Matz, their big ticket free agent addition, is currently on the IL while reliever turned starter was just placed on the IL and is no certainty to be back in the rotation once he returns.
The good news for the Cardinals is that Flaherty, their ace, is making progress in his recovery from a right shoulder injury. He threw 25 pitches to hitters on Thursday and it went well, according to manager Oli Marmol, who said that the team is scheduling another throwing session for Flaherty.
Internally, the Cardinals are being careful not to put a date on a potential Flaherty return. But he’s clearly making progress in his return and it couldn’t be coming at a better time for the team, especially with 60 percent of their rotation on the IL and the team falling 4.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central.
A rotation featuring Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright, Matz and Miles Mikolas is a formidable unit. The Cardinals are still a ways from that becoming reality, but it’s hard not to look at that group and not be optimistic. Flaherty, when healthy, is a bonafide ace. Wainwright remains as good as ever in his age-41 season. Matz, who has struggled this season, has underlying numbers that have the Cardinals confident he’ll be better once he returns from the IL. And Mikolas has been better than even the most optimistic of observers could have asked for, posting a 1.96 ERA in 55 innings this season.
The big question is who would be the No. 5 starter? The Cardinals have internal options such as Jake Woodford, Packy Naughton and Matthew Liberatore. They could explore the trade market where there figures to be no shortage of options.
But no trade option could make as big of an impact as Flaherty returning and while it may not be imminent, he appears to be getting closer to stepping on a major-league mound again. And for the Cardinals, it couldn’t be coming at a better time. They need him. Badly.