Right-hander Miles Mikolas, one of the Cardinals’ top starters, is dealing with flexor issues at the outset of spring training. Mikolas underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection after last season, but it’s possible he’ll need another one, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Surgery doesn’t seem to be on the table at this point, though the Cardinals should make an announcement on Mikolas’ status in the “coming days,” Hummel writes.
This is no doubt a less-than-ideal start to the spring for Mikolas and the Cardinals, who made a significant investment in him a year ago. Then fresh off a great return season to majors after dominating in Japan from 2015-17, the Cardinals signed Mikolas to a four-year, $68MM extension in February 2019. That deal won’t take effect until this year, giving St. Louis all the more reason to hope he’ll get past his current injury troubles unscathed.
Now 31 years old, Mikolas didn’t thrive in 2019 to the same extent he did in the previous season. He performed well nevertheless, though, and was perhaps the Cardinals’ most effective starter after budding star Jack Flaherty. Mikolas turned in 184 innings of 4.16 ERA/4.27 FIP ball with 7.04 K/9, 1.57 BB/9 and a 47.4 percent groundball rate.
If healthy, Mikolas will again join Flaherty, Adam Wainwright and Dakota Hudson in the Cardinals’ rotation. Meanwhile, Carlos Martinez figures to head back to the rotation after a year spent as a reliever. That’s a strong quintet on paper, but if Mikolas or someone else ends up unavailable to open 2020, the recently signed Kwang-hyun Kim could have the inside track to begin as the No. 5 for the reigning NL Central champions.