Cards RHP Flaherty to miss start of season, Reyes ailing
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty will miss the start of the season and there’s no timetable for his return after he received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his ailing right shoulder.
The Cardinals are hopeful Flaherty could be ready by May, but haven’t ruled out the possibility that he could need surgery.
“Our fingers are crossed that this is something that he can work through and get back on the mound,” Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said Friday.
Fellow pitcher Alex Reyes has been diagnosed with a frayed labrum in his throwing shoulder. Reyes isn’t expected to make his season debut until late May or early June after receiving a stem cell injection on Wednesday.
Flaherty’s injection is designed to aid the healing of a small tear. Flaherty and the Cardinals decided on the treatment after he traveled to Los Angeles to receive a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
Flaherty will rest for the next couple of days, then won’t be allowed to throw for two weeks.
“During that period we will use that to evaluate what those next steps look like,” Mozeliak said.
Flaherty, 26, first experienced the discomfort while working out during the offseason. Because of the Major League Baseball lockout, he couldn’t inform team doctors of the issue until he reported to camp this week. He hasn’t thrown off the mound this spring.
Flaherty was 9-2 with a 3.22 ERA in 17 games last year, a season cut short because of an oblique injury. He was 11-8 with a 2.75 ERA in 2019 and owns a 32-24 career record with a 3.34 ERA over five seasons.
Potential rotation replacements for Flaherty from within the organization include right-handers Johan Oviedo, Jake Woodford and Drew VerHagen, along with lefty Matthew Liberatore.
Woodford, 25, owns a 4.36 ERA in 38 appearances – nine starts – over the past two seasons.
Oviedo is 0-8 with a 5.07 ERA in 19 appearances – 18 starts – over the past two seasons.
St. Louis signed VerHagen as a free agent shortly before camp opened. Originally on the Detroit Tigers, he spent the past two seasons pitching in Japan. The Cardinals signed him as to be a multi-inning reliever, but it’s still early enough in camp to build the former fourth-round selection into a starter.
Acquired in the deal that sent Randy Arozarena to Tampa Bay, Liberatore allowed one run on two hits while striking out three in two innings against Houston on Friday.
Reyes saved 29 games for St. Louis last season before being replaced at closer by Giovanny Gallegos. A starting pitcher during his minor league career, the Cardinals could still build Reyes back to starter strength this season.
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