When the St. Louis Cardinals open the regular season against the Pittsburgh Pirates, they’ll be without two key members of their pitching staff, in starter Jack Flaherty and closer Alex Reyes, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Flaherty received a platelet-rich plasma to help heal a small tear in his throwing shoulder, per Goold. He’s expected to not throw for two weeks before a new treatment plan can be devised. With Flaherty not yet having time to stretch out and Opening Day looming in less than three weeks, it’s fair to write that he’s likely to miss a couple of turns through the rotation, at minimum.
Reyes could miss even more time than that. He was diagnosed with a frayed labrum and received a stem cell injection, according to Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat. He also won’t throw for “at least” two weeks. Jones notes that Reyes isn’t expected to return until late May or early June.
Flaherty, 26, made just 17 appearances (and 15 starts) last season because of injury. He posted a 3.22 ERA (121 ERA+) and a 3.27 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 78 innings.
Reyes, 27, appeared in 69 games last season and made his first All-Star Game. He compiled a 3.24 ERA (120 ERA+) and a 1.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio to go with 29 saves.
Flaherty and Reyes’ absences should create opportunities for other members of the Cardinals pitching staff. St. Louis is expected to trot out a rotation that includes Adam Wainwright, Steven Matz, Dakota Hudson, and Miles Mikolas; recent signing Drew VerHagen, back from Japan, could open the year as the fifth starter. Meanwhile, it seems likely that Giovanny Gallegos or Jordan Hicks will assume ninth-inning duties.