photo: Miles Mikolas via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
St. Louis Cardinals press release
The St. Louis Cardinals announced that RHP Miles Mikolas was placed on the 10-day Injured List with a right forearm strain today (Tuesday, July 28). RHP Jake Woodford was recalled from the Cardinals Alternate Training Site in Springfield, Mo., and RHP Giovanny Gallegos (GUY-eh-gohse) was activated from the Injured List.
Mikolas, 31, was scheduled to start for the Cardinals on Wednesday in Minnesota. His last game action was making the start and pitching four innings in an exhibition game on July 22 versus the Kansas City Royals at Busch Stadium. Mikolas missed the entire Spring Training season in Jupiter with a flexor tendon injury in his right forearm. Over the past two seasons since signing out of the Korean Baseball Organization, Mikolas was 27-18 with a 3.46 ERA over 64 starts while tying for the National League lead with 18 wins in 2018.
Gallegos, 28, joined the team after returning from his residence in Sonora, Mexico, on July 20, and has been on the Injured List since. The right-handed relief pitcher was 3-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 66 appearances in 2019, while leading all National League relief pitchers in fewest baserunners/9 IP (7.88) and ranking 2nd among relievers in WHIP (0.81).
Woodford, 23, the Cardinals supplemental first round selection (39th overall) in the 2015 Major League Baseball Draft, is a three-time Minor League All-Star and was the starting pitcher for the Pacific Coast League in the 2019 Triple-A All-Star Game. The right-hander carries a career minor league record of 30-32 with a 3.87 ERA over 106 appearances with 101 starts. His first appearance will be his Major League debut.
Both Gallegos and Woodford will join the Cardinals and be active for their scheduled game against Minnesota at Target Field tonight. Gallegos wears uniform No. 65 and Woodford No. 40.
Brian Walton’s take
While the Gallegos move was expected, the other two were not. The Cardinals had run with 29 active players during the first series of the season while Gallegos hurried to get ready. The right-hander remained in Mexico for most of Summer Camp for reasons he prefers not to discuss. Though Gallegos is ready to pitch, it is not expected he will be called upon to close immediately.
That opens the question of whether newly-installed closer Kwang-Hyun Kim will be returned to starting or Austin Gomber or Daniel Ponce de Leon is given a trial instead, or together in a piggyback arrangement. The Cardinals obviously need a starter for Wednesday, so the emergency move and the long-term move may not be the same.
Mikolas may have a continuation of a problem experienced in spring training that put his availability for the original Opening Day in question. As early as February 15, Mikolas experienced a recurrence of his late-2019 problem with the flexor tendon in his right arm. It was thought that with rest and rehab that the 31-year old would be ready to go, but that is clearly not the case.
Woodford was already traveling with the team as one of the designated taxi squad players. When the 23-year old gets into a game, it will be his MLB debut. The right-hander is The Cardinal Nation’s ninth-ranked prospect and was already on the team’s 40-man roster.
When the Cardinals announce Woodford’s replacement on the taxi squad, this article will be updated. The other player on the team’s first-ever squad is infielder Max Schrock.
Prior to Tuesday’s game in Minneapolis, PBO John Mozeliak hosted a media Zoom call. He explained that Mikolas had an MRI on Monday and the decision is to have tendon repair surgery. Since the ligament is “completely intact”, the replacment surgery (aka Tommy John) is not required. Mikolas is expected to be cleared to throw in four months and be ready for the 2021 season.
Daniel Ponce de Leon will start Wednesday in Mikolas’ place and Mozeliak said he hopes the right-hander “will run with it”. Ponce de Leon’s brief one-batter appearance on Saturday was made with this start in mind.
However, Mozeliak warned that he is not “wedded to the rotation” for the next two weeks and the situation is “literally day-to-day”.
He affirmed that Kim is the closer Tuesday night, with Gallegos available out of the pen.
Woodford has not been replaced on the taxi squad. With the days off, Mozeliak does not feel the need to do anything immediate. Again, it is a day-to-day situation. He is considering internal and external options to backfill the couple of openings on the alternate camp roster.
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