9:56PM: Hicks was experiencing soreness and inflammation in his elbow, manager Mike Shildt told MLB.com’s Ryan Herrera and other reporters.
9:28PM: Cardinals right-hander Jordan Hicks left tonight’s game due to what the team described as “right arm tightness.” Hicks began the seventh inning and allowed a hit over two-thirds of an inning before leaving the game. As per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch via Twitter, “Hicks had a noticeable wince and flex of the arm” after tossing his final pitch.
The Cards’ announcement specified that Hicks was removed for precautionary reasons, though that preliminary diagnosis of arm tightness is certainly cause for concern given Hicks’ injury history. The righty underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2019 and didn’t pitch at all in 2020 — he opted out of the season due to COVID concerns as a sufferer of Type 1 diabetes, and Hicks’ rehab may have kept from returning to the mound altogether before the regular season was out.
St. Louis hasn’t rushed Hicks back by any stretch, limiting him to middle relief outings and set-up duty rather than save situations. To date, Hicks also hasn’t pitched on consecutive days.
It’s been something of a mixed bag for Hicks in the 10 innings pitched since his long layoff. He has a 5.40 ERA/5.91 SIERA that can be largely attributed to a tough outing against the Reds on April 23, as Hicks has a 2.79 ERA over his other nine appearances. Hicks has thus far been among the best in the game at limiting hard contact, and Hicks has technically lost a bit of velocity by his high standards, but it’s probably fair to say that he isn’t exactly in decline with “only” a 99.4mph average fastball after averaging in the triple digits in the 2018-19 seasons. On the downside, Hicks’ his 24.4% strikeout rate is almost exactly league average, and he has as many walks (10) as strikeouts.