TODAY: Flaherty discussed his injury situation today with MLB.com’s Joe Trezza and other reporters, noting that the PRP injection wasn’t due to his labrum tear, but rather bursitis. Flaherty felt that the shoulder issue was brought on by mechanical changes Flaherty made last season, while trying to adjust to his oblique strain. It appears to be a matter of crossed signals between the righty and the team as to why the Cardinals announced the labrum tear as the cause of the PRP injection, as Flaherty has been dealing with the tear for “a handful of years,” and during the lockout, “it was just hard communication-wise to communicate to [the Cardinals] what was going on” in regards to his shoulder inflammation.
MARCH 18: Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty received a platelet-rich plasma injection to address a small tear in his right shoulder, the team informed reporters (including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). He’ll be shut down from throwing for two weeks, at which point the team will reevaluate his status. Flaherty obviously won’t have time to build up arm strength in time for Opening Day, and he’ll begin the season on the injured list.
It isn’t known how long Flaherty will be out, as Goold writes the team will have a more definitive timetable once they see how his shoulder responds to the PRP injection. The diagnosis of the small tear sounds ominous, but Katie Woo of the Athletic reports (via Twitter) the Cardinals have been aware of its presence for a while. Flaherty has pitched through it in the past, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak tells Woo, but he’s apparently not able to do so as things currently stand.
Flaherty missed a good chunk of last season due to injury. He initially suffered an oblique strain that cost him a couple months. Not long after returning in August, he suffered a shoulder strain that knocked him out an additional four weeks. Flaherty returned in a relief capacity at the end of the season, but the repeated issues kept him to 78 1/3 innings over 17 outings.
With Flaherty down at the start of the year, there’s some uncertainty in the rotation behind the top four of Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas, Steven Matz and Dakota Hudson. Goold writes that Mozeliak pointed to Jake Woodford and Matthew Liberatore as possible candidates for the final spot. Swingman Drew VerHagen and non-roster invitee Aaron Brooks — both of whom were signed after stints in Asian leagues (the NPB and KBO, respectively) — could be other options.
Meanwhile, righty Alex Reyes received a stem cell injection in his own ailing shoulder (via Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat). He’ll be shut down from throwing for at least two weeks, and St. Louis doesn’t expect he’ll be ready for MLB action until late May or early June.
Reyes, who served as St. Louis’ primary closer last season, has dealt with a few arm issues in prior years. Various injuries, including a February 2017 Tommy John procedure, limited him to 72 2/3 big league frames between 2016-20. He avoided the IL last season, but he’s seemingly in line to miss the first six-plus weeks of this year. While he’s out, pitchers like Giovanny Gallegos, Genesis Cabrera and Ryan Helsley could be bumped up a peg in the high-leverage pecking order.