The Cardinals announced the following transaction this afternoon in advance of tonight’s game:
5/4/21: Placed RHP Jordan Hicks on the 10-day IL, retroactive to May 2nd (right elbow inflammation). Recalled RHP Johan Oviedo from AAA Memphis.
Before I get into tonight’s transaction, I wanted to say a quick word about Adam Wainwright. Heather did a nice job in her tribute to him earlier today, but I wanted to say something about the piece that I wrote when he went on the COVID-19 Related IL. In focusing on the matter from a rules standpoint, I wondered about vaccinations and quarantine protocols, and was curious how it would be possible that he could be in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, yet not quarantined for longer than he and the club planned.
What I failed to grasp was the human element of his situation. Initially when I heard the news, I was thinking about the matter in terms of the club’s safety. I didn’t dream that Wainwright’s wife and all five of his children had come down with the virus. Instead I figured that perhaps he had a relative stay with him for short while that came down with it, and I wondered why that necessitated a stay away from the club if Wainwright was vaccinated.
As it turns out, Wainwright was away from the club because he’s an awesome husband and father and his wife and children needed him. Just to listen to him after last night’s game describe how tough it is to be a mother, especially a baseball wife, to the praise he heaped on his wife for being a wonderful woman and mother, was inspiring and reminded me that there are still some good ones out there. I sincerely regret that in my piece describing the situation, I failed to recognize the possibility that his wife and kids were in a dire situation, and he might need to be away to take care of his family. And I wish nothing but the speediest recovery for his wife and kids.
Now we need to talk about Jordan Hicks. The club decided that it wanted Johan Oviedo to start against the Mets tonight. Since he was optioned on April 29th after his last start on the 28th, he would not be eligible for recall today unless an IL move was made. It was all but confirmed last night that Hicks would go on the injured list for a period of time to make this accommodation. We just didn’t know for how long. Hicks had to leave the May 1st game with what we were told was right elbow tightness. That turned into right elbow inflammation. An update was planned for last night, but all we learned was that the imaging done was “not as clear” as the club would like.
Mozeliak met with the media today and now the word is that the club has its “fingers crossed that he can join our team at some point this summer.” Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat clarified that Mozeliak noted that although the imagine showed that the graft from Hicks’s Tommy John surgery is intact, this is a new injury that was more serious than originally thought. We don’t know exactly what the injury is, but Mozeliak said the club was just calling it elbow inflammation at this point. Hicks will get a second opinion, although Mozeliak said the club believes that surgery is not indicated at this time. Options other than surgery include platelet-rich-plasma injections, stem cell treatment and rest. All of those take significant time.
For tonight, the club has an 8-man pen. If history is any guide, Oviedo will be optioned back to Memphis after this start, not only because he won’t be available to pitch for several days, and the club won’t need a sixth starter after tonight. Once the club gets to May 10th, there are 3 open dates between that date and May 20th. I think you can expect another reliever up here, and if that ends up coming to pass, they have a few options Their choices are Junior Fernandez, Bernardo Flores, Jr. or Angel Rondon. The Memphis Redbirds placed Johan Quezada on the 7-day IL in advance of that club’s opening day, for a reason that I will try to track down. Fernandez would be my best guess, although the Cards have never failed to surprise me over the years.
The reason I think you’re likely to see a position-player recall is that Austin Dean will be unavailable for recall because he was just optioned yesterday, and Mozeliak has said that John Nogowski will be on a rehab assignment to Memphis some time this week. In addition, I think the club wants to have Lane Thomas actually get some games in with Memphis before coming back to the big club. With Bader just coming back and Carpenter and Williams holding down the left-handed pinch hitting jobs, there isn’t a need for Hurst now, if there ever was. Unfortunately for the five-man bench aficionados, I think you’re going to see the four-man variety for the next several days at least.
Cabrera (L), Elledge, Gallegos, Helsley, Reyes, Webb (L), Whitley, Woodford