(Busch Stadium) The St. Louis Cardinals will be without the services of pitcher Jordan Hicks for the next several months, as the closer will undergo Tommy John surgery tomorrow morning to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
“Needless to say, very disappointing,” said Team President John Mozeliak, who made the announcement. “He obviously was taking over that closer role for us and certainly is going to be missed. Next question is, who’s going to do it? Talking with Shildty, comfort level is to go with Carlos Martinez and obviously then the order would just keep going backwards as you think about the bullpen. Good news is we have some depth there and hopefully we can absorb it, but no doubt it’s a loss.”
Hicks was removed from Saturday’s game after feeling tightness in the back of his triceps. Initial tests indicated triceps tendinitis.
“I wasn’t surprised,” Hicks said. “I think the tests were probably negative because my adrenaline was pretty high. Just out of the game and a lot of things, but I’m in a good place right now.”
“Fairness on this, we were overly optimistic and then the dark clouds moved in,” Mozeliak admitted. “I would think though, for the most part, we try to be as transparent and honest as possible on these things. Clearly on this one, we were wrong.”
Yesterday, Dr. George Paletta reviewed Hicks’ MRI and the team announced he had suffered a torn URL. Mozeliak said a second and third opinion was requested, which were received today. That led to Hicks and his agent deciding to have Dr. Paletta perform the surgery tomorrow in St. Louis.
“I’ve talked to a lot guys about it,” Hicks said. “They all said pretty much the same thing–it’s going to be a grind. It’s going to be all about how much effort you put into and what you really want for yourself. I want to come back strong. I want to play a long time, so my mentality is just stay strong in my head and just work hard and be back.”
Owner of the twenty one fastest pitches in baseball this year, all of them 103mph plus, Hicks isn’t convinced that’s why he needs Tommy John surgery.
“Honestly, I don’t know what it stems from,” he said. “There’s a lot of guys who’ve gotten Tommy John who probably throw 90s. A lot of guys get it who throw 100. At the same time, that’s how I pitch. Whatever comes of that, is what comes of it. I think that Tommy John is not strictly about how hard you throw, it’s about how many times you throw. It’s just something that’s part of this game.”
The Cardinals officially transferred Hicks to the 10-day injured list this morning and recalled pitchers Daniel Ponce de Leon and Dominic Leone from Memphis (AAA). The team also optioned left-hander Genesis Cabrera to Memphis.
Hicks was 2-2 this season with 14 saves in 29 games pitched for the Cardinals.
This is the third stint this season in St. Louis for Ponce de Leon, who threw 6.0 scoreless innings in his start last Wednesday for the team. Still looking for his first MLB win, Ponce de Leon has allowed just two earned runs in 15.0 innings pitched (1.20 ERA).
Since being optioned to Memphis on May 17th, Leone has appeared in 13 games for the Redbirds. His last seven games stand out with 12 strikeouts in 11.0 innings with a 1.60 ERA. Prior to be optioned, Leone appeared in 20 games with the Cardinals.
ALEX REYES UPDATE
–Besides the news on Jordan Hicks, Mozeliak also provided an update on pitcher Alex Reyes–who came out in the 2nd inning of Sunday’s start with Memphis after experiencing what was announced as right pectoral discomfort.
“Alex had a pectoral strain and I would suspect he’s going to miss anywhere from two to three starts,” Mozeliak shared. “We’re not overly concerned, but anytime you’re not pitching is not good.”
Reyes had his season end in June last year due to a torn right lat–could that be connected to a mechanical issue with his delivery?
“I think we all need to look at that,” Mozeliak said. “From a coaching standpoint, from a mechanics standpoint, and from–obviously if I was the player, I’d be interested in what that might look like. So, we have a little time to do so and I think we will.”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports