The Cardinals announced Friday that right-hander Miles Mikolas has been reinstated from the 60-day injured list and will start tonight’s game. St. Louis placed right-hander Ryan Helsley on the 10-day injured list with a stress reaction in his right elbow, opening a spot on the active roster. Meanwhile, lefty Brandon Waddell has been placed on the Covid-19 injured list, tweets Zachary Silver of MLB.com, which opens a spot on the 40-man roster.
Tonight’s start is not only just Mikolas’ second appearance of the season — it’s second appearance overall dating back to the 2019 season. The right-hander parlayed an excellent three-year stint in Japan into a two-year, $15.5MM deal with the Cardinals, and he showed well enough in his return to MLB that the Cards signed him to a four-year, $68MM extension that spanned the 2020-23 seasons. Forearm surgery wiped out Mikolas’ entire 2020 season, however, and he’s spent the bulk of the current season on the injured list with continued forearm troubles.
Since returning to the Major Leagues in 2018, Mikolas has pitched quite well, logging a collective 3.45 earned run average with an 18.4 percent strikeout rate, a minuscule 3.9 percent walk rate and an above-average 48.4 percent ground-ball rate. Mikolas made the 2018 All-Star team and pitched well enough that season to land a sixth-place finish in National League Cy Young voting.
He’ll return to a Cardinals rotation that has been hammered by injuries throughout the summer but is now getting as close to full strength as it’s been in quite some time. Jack Flaherty returned to the staff a week ago after missing two months with an oblique tear, and the Cards hope to get Kwang Hyun Kim back from the 10-day injured list sooner than later. He made a rehab start just yesterday.
Flaherty and Mikolas join cornerstone Adam Wainwright and trade deadline newcomers J.A. Happ and Jon Lester in the rotation for now as the Cardinals do their best to chase down the second National League Wild Card spot. St. Louis has won seven of its past ten games to trim its deficit to three and a half games.