Encouraging news on health of the St. Louis Cardinals rotation
Encouraging news on health of the St. Louis Cardinals rotation, as Jack Flaherty and Steven Matz continue to get closer to returning.
This winter, the St. Louis Cardinals signed Steven Matz to a four-year, $44 million contract to upgrade and solidify their rotation. It still left some observers outside the organization wanting more, especially after seeing the rotation crumble during the 2021 season following an assortment of injuries.
It has been the same story in 2022. Jack Flaherty hasn’t thrown a pitch as he recovers from a right shoulder injury. Matz is on the injured list with a left shoulder impingement. Jordan Hicks is on the IL and is no guarantee to stay in the rotation once he returns.
In the meantime, Adam Wainwright and Miles Mikolas have kept the rotation together. Wainwright has remained steady as ever while Mikolas, who enters Sunday with a 1.96 ERA, has been arguably one of the biggest surprises in the National League. And the good news for the Cardinals is that more help is on the way – or at least getting closer.
After throwing to live hitters earlier this week, Flaherty will do so once again on Wednesday, according to Katie Woo of The Athletic. Matz received a cortisone shot in his left shoulder and played catch on Sunday morning, though there is no timetable for eithers return.
That each is progressing is an encouraging sign. Flaherty appears to be closer to returning than Matz, however, and his return would give the Cardinals a huge boost atop the rotation. Having Flaherty, Wainwright and Mikolas would give them three high-end starting pitchers and would take pressure off a bullpen that has seen a lot of work to begin the season.
There is also the possibility that the Cardinals add an outside arm along the lines of Dallas Keuchel, who was just designated for assignment by the Chicago White Sox. He has struggled, of course, but would give them another starting pitcher with a veteran pedigree. And having a rotation (when healthy) with Flaherty, Wainwright, Mikolas, Matz and Keuchel would be pretty, pretty good.
Not to mention allowing Dakota Hudson, Packy Naughton and Jake Woodford to pitch in the bullpen, giving them more arms in the middle and late innings. Just a thought. But for now, Flaherty and Matz continue to work their way back from the IL, and they’re at least getting closer.