Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas will undergo surgery to repair his right flexor tendon and miss the remainder of the 2020 season, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak announced to reporters Tuesday (Twitter link via The Athletic’s Mark Saxon). He’s been placed on the injured list, and right-hander Jake Woodford has been recalled from the club’s alternate training site in a corresponding move. St. Louis also announced that Giovanny Gallegos has been activated from the injured list. Right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon will start against the Twins tomorrow in place of Mikolas.
The loss of Mikolas is a notable blow to the St. Louis rotation. Since returning from a highly successful stint in Japan in 2018, the now-31-year-old Mikolas has given the Cards 384 2/3 innings of 3.44 ERA ball with averages of 6.8 strikeouts, 1.4 walks and 1.01 home runs per nine innings pitched. The right-hander finished sixth in 2018 National League Cy Young voting and has made 32 starts in each of his two seasons with the Cards.
That on its own would’ve been enough to make the two-year, $15.5MM deal that Mikolas signed with the Cardinals in the 2017-18 offseason a huge success. But the Cardinals clearly viewed the righty as a key long-term asset, as they locked him up on a four-year, $68MM extension prior to the 2019 season. The current season is the first year of that new pact, and a major arm surgery for Mikolas surely isn’t how either player or team hoped to kick things off. The hope is that he’ll be good to go for the 2021 season, Mozeliak added, though a more precise timeline will becomes clearer after the surgery.
Even without Mikolas, the Cardinals still have a talented group of starters. Young Jack Flaherty is emerging as one of the National League’s best arms. He’s joined by veterans Carlos Martinez and Adam Wainwright as well as fellow youngster Dakota Hudson in making up the Cardinals’ top four starters. Option for the fifth spot include Woodford, left-hander Genesis Cabrera and righty Alex Reyes, among others, although Reyes’ longstanding injury issues might make him better suited for a relief role.
The Cards opened the year with southpaw Kwang Hyun Kim in the bullpen, but the longtime KBO starter could move to the rotation, with the aforementioned Gallegos taking over ninth-inning work. Left-hander Ricardo Sanchez and right-hander Alvaro Seijas are both on the 40-man roster and in the team’s 60-man player pool as well.