Ryan Helsley won’t pitch in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series today, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol told reporters (including Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat). The decision is related to workload rather than a physical setback, as while Helsley left yesterday’s game with numbness in his right fingers. The issue contributed to a nightmarish breakdown, as Helsley was charged with four of the six runs the Cards surrendered in the ninth inning of the 6-3 loss to the Phillies.
An MRI didn’t reveal any damage, and Helsley told Jones and other media members that he’ll try to stimulate more blood flow in his fingers via laser therapy. The right-hander said he doesn’t have much feel (particularly on breaking pitches) as the ball is leaving his hand. With this is mind, it’s fair to consider Helsley as a question mark for Game 3, if St. Louis is able to extend the series tonight.
Here’s some more from around the NL Central…
- “I love it here, I feel good here, I feel comfortable here and I wish I could stay here the rest of my career,” Willy Adames told Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other reporters about his time with the Brewers. Adames is arbitration-controlled through the 2024 season, and given the Brewers’ payroll limitations, it remain to be seen how many (if any) of such notables as Adames, Corbin Burnes, or Brandon Woodruff could be possible extension candidates. “At the end of the day, [the Brewers] have to put everything together and see if we can work something out. Hopefully we can, and we can make it happen. But I’m always willing to hear what they have to say,” Adames said. Possibly impacted by a high ankle sprain that sidelined him in May and early June, Adames hit .238/.298/.458 over 617 plate appearances, though that still translated to a 109 wRC+, and the shortstop also hit 31 homers.
- Pirates manager Derek Shelton cited first base and catcher as “areas of need” in the offseason, telling Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and other reporters that “I do think we’ll continue to look to solidify those positions….We’re just going to have to see what’s available, how we acquire guys to fill that.” Roberto Perez may be a candidate to be re-signed, though the veteran backstop played only 21 games before undergoing hamstring surgery, and Perez was one of a whopping eight catchers who saw time behind the plate for the Pirates in 2022. First base was also a revolving door with 10 players getting time at the cold corner, and Michael Chavis (who had the bulk of the playing time) was already outrighted off the active roster, with Chavis electing free agency. As always, it’s hard to imagine the Pirates spending big on upgrades at either position, as the team continues to rebuild.
- Brennen Davis was limited to 53 games in 2022 due to back surgery, and the star Cubs prospect reflected on his difficult year and somewhat unusual injury with The Chicago Sun-Times’ Maddie Lee. Initially diagnosed as a herniated disc, Davis’ issue was actually a vascular malformation that was causing pain due to pressure on his sciatic nerve. While it may take time for Davis to fully recover his power stroke, both the outfielder and Triple-A hitting coach Desi Wilson feel the situation might actually help Davis’ overall hitting approach. “Having to grind for my hits. I can’t just go out there and muscle one out,” Davis said. “I have to square baseballs up and hit them the right way, with true backspin and stuff like that, and pick pitches that I can do damage on.” Davis has returned to action in the Arizona Fall League, and he is hopeful of making his MLB debut in 2023 — since Davis had already hit well during a brief Triple-A stint in 2021, he likely would’ve already appeared in the majors this year had he stayed healthy.