At this point, it’s not clear how long Martinez will be down. Clearly, though, the Cards can ill afford to go without a pitcher who has been a steadily excellent presence in the rotation. He’s off to a great start, leading National League starters with a 1.62 ERA on the season.
As Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out (Twitter links), with an off-day coming, the Cards can juggle their rotation to accommodate the addition of Jack Flaherty. Though the top prospect just made a start in Triple-A yesterday, the time off will allow the Cards to move the rest of their starters up a day and slide Flaherty into the back end of that mix. In that sense, Mayers’ promotion to the big leagues could be relatively short-lived.
The injury to Martinez also puts increased importance on the recovery of both Adam Wainwright and Alex Reyes, the latter of whom, Goold notes, is preparing to return as a starter for the time being. While the Cards have said in the past that they don’t expect him to expose Reyes to the rigors of an every-fifth-day schedule in the rotation, stretching him out as a starter and then scaling back his workload in a transition to the ’pen would be easier than easing him back in via the bullpen and stretching him out in the Majors. Wainwright, meanwhile, could return this weekend.
[Related: St. Louis Cardinals depth chart]
With Martinez out for an undetermined period of time, the Cards will rely on Miles Mikolas, Luke Weaver and Michael Wacha in addition to Flaherty, once he is presumably called up next week. If Wainwright is indeed activated over the weekend, he’ll be added to that group and round out the rotation. If it’s deemed that the veteran needs additional time to rehab, then perhaps John Gant would receive a second spot start at some point next week.