Cardinals' fans hold their breath as new ace Sonny Gray leaves start due to injury

Sonny Gray exited his start Tuesday due to hamstring tightness, and now all of Cardinals Nation is waiting to hear the severity of the situation.

Boston Red Sox v St. Louis Cardinals
Boston Red Sox v St. Louis Cardinals / Megan Briggs/GettyImages

Well, the last thing the St. Louis Cardinals needed this spring was injury concerns with their new ace, Sonny Gray.

In his start on Tuesday against the Washington Nationals, Gray was removed in the second inning by a trainer after what appears to be some tightness in his right hamstring. The severity of the injury is unknown at this moment.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch added some context over on X (formerly known as Twitter), saying that Gray was in the dugout, getting hydrated, and talking with pitching coach Dusty Blake following his removal.

While it at least appears to be a minor hiccup at the moment, it's still something that is going to freak out most Cardinals fans, and for good reason. The Cardinals have a shaky rotation entering the 2024 season and are relying on Gray to lead this group. He is by far the most talented pitcher on this staff, and without him, their five-man group goes from questionable to really bad in a heartbeat. We recently ranked Gray as the most important Cardinal in 2024 for that very reason.

While there are still some top-end free agent arms available like former Cardinal Jordan Montgomery and reigning National League Cy Young winner Blake Snell, the Cardinals have shown no interest in making such a move to this point. If Gray's injury does end up being more severe than we thought, maybe that changes things for them.

The Cardinals rotation outside of Gray currently consists of Miles Mikolas, Kyle Gibson, Lance Lynn, and Steven Matz. The next man up in the rotation appears to be either one of their young left-handed starters, Zack Thompson or Matthew Liberatore.

We'll continue to update the situation as more information is provided.