Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas left his start on May 22 with forearm tightness, leading to concerns that he would need Tommy John surgery. That won’t be the case, Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat was among those to report, but the Cardinals will have to go without Mikolas for the foreseeable future. Mikolas received a stem cell injection to address calcification in his flexor tendon, and he’ll be re-evaluated in four to six weeks.
The Cards expect Mikolas to pitch again this season, per Jones, but the recovery timeline suggests he’s a long way from taking the mound again. Even if he’s ready to go four to six weeks from now, Mikolas will still need time to build his arm strength back up, meaning St. Louis might not see him until sometime in July or August. The team has already gone almost the whole season without Mikolas, who made just the one start and lasted four innings. He missed all of 2020 after undergoing flexor tendon surgery and began this season behind schedule because of shoulder problems.
The Cardinals signed Mikolas, now 32, to a four-year, $68MM extension in 2019 after what looked like a breakout campaign in the previous season. Mikolas was effective again that year, but the deal didn’t kick in until last season. So, because of the injuries that have hampered Mikolas, the gamble hasn’t gone in the Cardinals’ favor at all thus far. He’s under their control through 2023 at annual salaries of $15.75MM.
Even without Mikolas, the Cardinals made the playoffs in 2020, and the National League Central leaders are on pace to do so again this year. The Cardinals’ starters rank a respectable 11th in the majors in ERA (3.63), though the group – largely Jack Flaherty, Kwang-hyun Kim, Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martínez and John Gant – has been closer to middle of the pack with respect to peripheral numbers.