All of the joy and excitement that built during the lead up to the return of Alex Reyes has taken an abrupt turn for the worse as the St. Louis Cardinals have once again placed their star rookie on the disabled list.
“Alex Reyes has a significant lat strain,” shared General Manager Michael Girsch. “It is not going to be a couple of starts, it’s going to be more than a few starts. We don’t have all the information yet, so we don’t know beyond that how long it’s going to be. But it is not a minor injury and we are gathering more information.”
That process for more information includes Reyes going to get a second opinion with a specialist in the next few days.
Making his first appearance since September of 2016, Reyes initially looked strong in yesterday’s start against the Milwaukee Brewers–striking out two of the first three batters he faced. However, concern rose as his velocity suddenly dropped in the 4th inning and he was paid a mound visit by Mike Matheny.
“Got out there, felt like we were being maybe a little overprotective,” said Matheny. “He kind of gave us a look like we were crazy, which was encouraging. He said that everything was good, but we were just trying to make sure. Obviously, we go the news after the game that after he cooled down, it wasn’t feeling quite right.”
Left in the game, Reyes finished off the last batter of the inning with and his velocity bounced back up on his final four pitches to over 95mph. It has not been determined if those final pitches caused the strain.
“The first we knew about was really this morning,” said Girsch. “Post game when the adrenaline went away, he was stiff. He was sore–stiff and sore enough that we knew we were going to DL him and make him miss at least one start which is why we already had Mayers on his way back. But when he went to the doctor this morning, they determined it was a significant strain.”
Both Mike Mayers and Austin Gomber have been recalled from Memphis (AAA) and will be available out of the bullpen for immediate use.
The injury is particularly frustrating for Reyes, who has received praise for his diligence in his rehab since undergoing Tommy John surgery last March. That work was paying off as he dominated in four rehab starts–striking out 44 batters in 23.0 scoreless innings. His reaction after learning the news of his injury was as one would expect.
“He was, I don’t even know how to properly describe it,” said Matheny. “He was beyond sad.”
As for the rotation spot on Tuesday vacated by Reyes, that could be filled by Carlos Martinez, who pitches tonight in Springfield (AA). He is expected to throw 60-70 pitches.
“If everything goes well, that’s certainly an option,” acknowledged Girsch.
photo credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports