Cardinals righty Jordan Hicks tells reporters, including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that he is going on the injured list with a forearm strain. Shortly after Hicks made that reveal, the club announced a batch of roster moves, with catcher Yadier Molina being activated from the bereavement list. Righties Kodi Whitley and Jake Woodford were recalled. To make room for those three on the active roster, Hicks was placed on the IL, while righty Junior Fernandez and catcher Ivan Herrera were optioned to Triple-A.
Any injury to a pitcher’s throwing arm can be a cause for concern, with the terminology of “forearm strain” often being particularly frightening as it can be a precursor to Tommy John surgery. However, the details coming from the club suggest that they aren’t pressing any alarm buttons just yet. Hicks tells reporters, including Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat, that it feels minor compared to his previous injuries, categorizing it as normal soreness that occurs for starting pitchers between outings. (Hicks underwent Tommy John in 2019.) He doesn’t seem to be anticipating a lengthy absence, as he tells Jones that he expects to be back this season, either as a starter or a reliever, depending on the team’s situation in the long run.
Due to injuries to Jack Flaherty and Alex Reyes, the Cardinals had a rotation need to begin the year and decided to transition Hicks from reliever to starter, stretching him out as the season went along. The results haven’t been eye-popping so far, with the fireballer currently sporting a 5.02 ERA over 28 2/3 innings, along with a 23% strikeout rate, 15.9% walk rate and 55.6% grounder rate.
Flaherty and Reyes are both still on the IL and were recently joined by Steven Matz. Prospect Matthew Liberatore has been called up and seems to have taken over a spot in the rotation for now, alongside Adam Wainwright, Dakota Hudson and Miles Mikolas. That still leaves them shorthanded, and the Cards are playing 12 games in the next 11 days thanks to a June 4 doubleheader. Packy Naughton has already been with the big league club this year and could be recalled to help out. Angel Rondon had a good outing for the club earlier this week but was optioned the next day, May 23. Pitchers must stay in the minors for 15 days after being optioned, unless replacing a player going on the IL or if they are acting as the 27th man for a doubleheader. Woodford, recalled today, has made two Triple-A starts this year, though logging only three innings in each of them.