(Jupiter, FL) After injuries have kept him out of action the better part of two years, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher is finally enjoying Spring Training the way he has wanted to.
“It’s always a lot more fun when you’re on the field, so this has been the best Spring Training for me over the last few years by far,” Reyes smiled. “You know it’s a different feeling every year. Once you step on that mound, whatever happened before is pretty much past you. So it’s a new feeling, especially for me not being a part of spring the last few years it’s definitely a different feeling being out there and being able to pitch.”
Throwing free and easy with no pain, Reyes said the biggest adjustment his first two games was just learning how to handle games situations and the adrenaline that comes along with it–not unlike the adrenaline he felt during his progression of minor league starts last year.
“Yeah, that was very similar,” he agreed. “That was game action. Those games I had coming back, I felt really good. Just looking forward to try and continue that.”
Scheduled to follow Adam Wainwright to the mound tonight against the Houston Astros at Roger Dean Stadium, Reyes will make his fourth appearance of the spring. He has thrown 3.0 innings and allowed one run, one hit, and four walks with three strikeouts.
“Execute pitches and try to repeat my last outing,” Reyes said of his goal for this evening. “Just being able to come out of the inning with a low pitch count is always key. And especially if you’re in the bullpen being able to bounce back the next day or the following, the less pitches you throw the sooner you can get back out there.”
While Mike Shildt has made it clear that if Reyes makes the team out of Spring Training it will be out of the bullpen, the St. Louis Cardinals Manager also outlined that, similar to Carlos Martinez, the role for Alex could easily transition to the rotation.
“I could create six different scenarios for you of how that could happen,” Shildt began. “We would think that they would at some point they would get multiple innings. And then if we said okay we need a spot starter, maybe that guy is kind of at that point of getting built up. The guy’s throwing up to 35 pitches, which I would assume he’d have at the point. Or 40 pitches. Then you say, okay, we want to get him in the rotation his next time out. He can throw 50 pitches, I know that’s a modified start, but it’s in the big leagues.”
UPDATE: Alex Reyes pitched the final two innings of the Cardinals 11-2 loss to Houston on Friday night. He retired his first three batters, then allowed a walk and two hits–but one was a three-run homer to Chas McCormick in the 9th. Reyes then set down the next three batters he faced.
“That was his first time having a second inning, first time in a while,” Mike Maddux reminded. “In Spring Training when the guys throw three innings, then their next game they’re going to go four, usually that 4th inning can be a little rugged. Then they go four and the 5th inning the next time, a little rugged. Just that build-up inning usually seems to be the test.”
vs HOU at Roger Dean Stadium
Matt Carpenter, 3B
Dexter Fowler, RF
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
Paul DeJong, SS
Yadier Molina, C
Kolten Wong, 2B
Dylan Carlson, LF
Randy Arozarena, CF
Adam Wainwright, P
vs HOU at Ballpark of the Palm Beaches
Harrison Bader, CF
Drew Robinson, SS
Tyler O’Neill, RF
Marcell Ozuna, LF
Rangel Ravelo, 1B
Matt Wieters, C
Yairo Munoz, 2B
Max Schrock, 3B
Daniel Ponce de Leon, P
–As the competition for the final spot in the Cardinals rotation continues, Austin Gomber will start on Saturday against Washington with John Gant returning to the mound on Sunday against Miami.
Gant threw a pair of innings on the backfields of a squad game on Thursday and has appeared in four games, two starts, for the Cardinals this spring. He has allowed four runs on nine hits with five strikeouts and three walks in 9.0 innings.
Gomber has appeared in three games, one start, and has allowed eight runs on 11 hits, five of them being home runs. He has three strikeouts and three walks.
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI