Cardinals Spring Training Update: Looking at Sonny Gray's hamstring injury history

Sonny Gray's strained hamstring isn't the first time he's experienced setbacks with that muscle.

Mar 4, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Sonny Gray (54) talks with a
Mar 4, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Sonny Gray (54) talks with a / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

There's a chance that the St. Louis Cardinals' ace Sonny Gray will start the season on the Injured List with a strained hamstring. However, this isn't the first time the right-handed pitcher has experienced an injury of this type before. In fact, his history of hamstring issues led him to be proactive with this most recent ailment.

Despite these two hamstring injuries in 2022, Gray was still able to pitch 119.2 innings and make 24 starts. That's an average of 5 innings pitched per start, a bit below his career average of 5.8 innings per start. Perhaps his hamstring injuries hampered his ability to go late in games.

In 2022, while pitching for the Minnesota Twins, Sonny Gray went on the IL two separate times as a result of hamstring strains. His first stint on the IL was from late April to early May. The Minnesota Twins dubbed it a low-grade right hamstring strain. Gray went down on April 16th, and he made his next big-league start on May 7th. He likely missed three starts in the interim.

His next two starts after returning featured him going 4 and 4.1 innings, respectively. Those short starts were likely games where he was still trying to ramp up his stamina, so the brevity in those two games contributed to his low innings total on the season.

Gray's second hamstring injury knocked him out on September 2nd, but he didn't hit the IL. He made his immediate next start, but Gray again felt pain on September 19th; as a result, he shut it down for the remainder of the season. Gray's start on September 2nd was cut short; he pitched only 4 innings in that game. Being shut down for the remainder of the season cost him 2 or 3 starts.

An official decision has not yet been made regarding Sonny Gray's presence on the Injured List. John Mozeliak danced around questions regarding Gray's availability in the month of April. Gray had yet to exceed 60 pitches in a spring start, so he will need to essentially restart his spring progress once he is able to throw again.

If Sonny Gray misses 3-4 weeks accounting for his general recovery and building back up for the season, the Cardinals can be assured of 28 starts this year out of their ace. There is the possibility of him re-aggravating his hamstring. If this is the case, the Cardinals could be looking at a reflection of Gray's 2022 season. He still had a 3.08 ERA and a 126 ERA+. While the innings total isn't what the team needs out of its best pitcher, the statistics were strong that year.