Here’s the latest out of St. Louis…
- Adam Wainwright’s return from the disabled list was a brief one, as the righty felt elbow pain while warming up during his start today and lasted just 2 1/3 innings (allowing two runs on three hits and six walks). Today’s outing was Wainwright’s first after missing over three weeks due to elbow inflammation, and he is likely headed back to the DL in the wake of this latest issue. He will miss at least his next start, and return to St. Louis for examination. “I need to pause and get it right. This team deserves more than that and the fans deserve more than that and the organization does, too. If I’m going to be a force down the stretch, I need to get healthy first,” Wainwright told MLB.com’s Jay Paris and other media. The veteran underwent arthroscopic surgery on that same right elbow last October after battling some elbow problems in 2017, and also missed all of the 2011 season due to Tommy John surgery. With Carlos Martinez also on the DL, the Cards rotation is down to Miles Mikolas, Michael Wacha, and Luke Weaver, with Jack Flaherty tapped to start on Tuesday.
- Alex Reyes could also eventually factor into the St. Louis rotation plans, as the star prospect will pitch on Monday in what will be the second of four scheduled minor league rehab starts as he makes his return from Tommy John surgery. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak told Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the team won’t be moving to a six-man rotation once Reyes is ready, though it remains to be seen exactly how Reyes will be deployed. “Rather than lay it [the team’s plan] out there for public consumption, I would rather wait and do it based on where we are, where he is, and how to best optimize that,” Mozeliak said. As Frederickson notes, the Cards are trying to manage Reyes’ workload on several fronts — they want to ease him back into action, while also keeping him fresh to pitch in a postseason race (and into October) and on track to move into a starting role in 2019. Using him as a multi-inning reliever or piggybacking his outings with another starter would be complicated from an innings-management standpoint, and Mozeliak said that the team could even keep Reyes in the minors if that is what is best for him at this point in his development and recovery.
- Earlier this week, The Athletic’s Mark Saxon (subscription required) opined that Kolten Wong’s second base glove has become such a plus for the Cardinals that the team should consider giving him more regular playing time, even against left-handed pitching. Since Saxon’s piece was written, Wong has started each of the Cards’ last two games against southpaw opposing starters, with Jedd Gyorko playing third base and the struggling Matt Carpenter getting a three-game break. Wong has been one of baseball’s best defenders at any position this season, and his bat has started to show some signs of life after an ice-cold start to the season. With Jose Martinez more or less locked in as the starting first baseman at this point, it leaves the Cards juggling Wong, Gyorko, and Carpenter between second and third base, with backup infielder Greg Garcia also in need of some playing time.