Injuries & Moves: Carlson, Matz await MRI

May 22nd, 2022

Keep track of the Cardinals' recent transactions and injury updates throughout the season.

LATEST NEWS

May 22: LHP Steven Matz exits finale vs. Pirates with left shoulder stiffness
Four pitches into Sunday’s finale against the Pirates, Matz exited with left shoulder stiffness. Matz, the Cardinals’ $44 million free-agent signee in the offseason, threw two strikes and two balls before wincing in pain.

Matz was to undergo an MRI on his ailing left shoulder Sunday after the team returns to St. Louis following the Cardinals' 18-4 win over the Pirates. Matz, whose fastball topped out at 91 mph instead of his usual 94-95 mph, didn’t want to speculate on the severity of the injury after Sunday’s victory in Pittsburgh.

“It’s hard to tell,” Matz said. “Last year my shoulder felt great all year. But sometimes stuff comes up and it’s hard to relate it to anything that’s happened in previous years.” -- John Denton

May 22: Dylan Carlson out of lineup with left hamstring tightness, likely to return by Thursday
As expected, Carlson was not in the Cardinals’ lineup on Sunday after feeling pain and tightness in his left hamstring on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, Carlson described the injury as feeling, “good, but different,” before a short rehabilitation stint of walking slowly on a treadmill for 10 minutes.

Carlson, who was shifted into center on Saturday when Harrison Bader was scratched from the lineup following a bout with dizziness, felt tightness in his left hamstring as he chased down a hard-hit line drive off the bat of Pittsburgh’s Yoshi Tsutsugo.

Carlson wanted to stay in the game after he hit in the top of the third inning, but he left the game after popping out to right field and struggling to get down the line. Manager Oliver Marmol is hopeful that the team prevented a more serious injury by getting Carlson out of the lineup, but a stint on the 10-day injured list could be ahead. St. Louis is already without two-time Gold Glover Tyler O’Neill (right shoulder impingement).

“When we pulled him, it was like, 'just a little bit of tightness,' [from Carlson] and not a pull or a strain. And we got him out before he felt anything severe,” said Marmol, who noted that Carlson has yet to have an MRI to determine the true severity of the hamstring injury. “My hope is that we’re looking at maybe today and tomorrow [off] and that’s it. That would be my hope.”

Bader, who returned to the game on Saturday night for two innings of defense, said a reaction to an anti-inflammatory medication led to his dizziness on Saturday. -- John Denton

May 22: Cardinals recall RHP Angel Rondón and option LHP Matthew Liberatore to Triple-A Memphis
Giving themselves insurance in case they need long-relief options against the Pirates, the Cardinals recalled Rondón on Sunday morning. Rondón, who made his MLB debut in 2021, was already in Pittsburgh and on the team’s taxi squad. To make room on the roster, St. Louis sent No. 3 prospect Liberatore back to Memphis.

Liberatore allowed four earned runs and seven hits over 4 2/3 innings in his Major League debut on Saturday night. He was unable to get out of the fifth inning to qualify for the win, but the Cardinals still hung on for a 5-4 victory.

The Cardinals promoted Rondón after Drew VerHagen pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings on Saturday and was unavailable for long relief on Sunday. After pitching in Japan the previous two seasons, VerHagen notched his first MLB win since Aug. 23, 2019, when he was a member of the Tigers.

“It feels great because that’s the first tight game I’ve been in, and the rush of adrenaline you get in a game like that is what it’s all about,” said VerHagen, whose season had been interrupted by a hip impingement injury and a recent bout of COVID-19 that sapped his strength and energy for five days. “It took a couple of weeks to get right with my hip and it’s feeling strong again. The training staff has done great and I’m just happy to be back and help these guys win.” -- John Denton

DAY TO DAY

INJURY UPDATES

10-day and 15-day IL

OF Tyler O’Neill (right shoulder impingement)
Expected return: Early June
The injury might explain O’Neill’s slow start. He is hitting .195 with two home runs and 20 RBIs in 32 games. -- Bill Ladson (Last updated: May 19)

60-day IL

RHP (right shoulder inflammation)
Expected return:
Early June
Flaherty, the Cardinals' Opening Day starter in 2020 and '21, remains on track in his recovery from shoulder inflammation. According to manager Oliver Marmol, Flaherty has a couple of bullpen sessions under his belt. So far, the sessions have been successful. Flaherty is able to mix his pitches without any problems.

Marmol said the team is excited about Flaherty's progress but will not speed up his return. Flaherty is expected to have at least two more bullpen sessions before the intensity builds up and he faces hitters in a live bullpen session. If everything goes well, Flaherty could then start a rehab assignment. – Bill Ladson (Last updated: May 19)

RHP Alex Reyes (right shoulder soreness)
Expected return:
TBD
Manager Oliver Marmol said on May 15 that the Cardinals are awaiting a second opinion on Reyes’ troublesome right shoulder following a bout with soreness after a recent throwing session. Reyes, who has not pitched this season, received a series of stem-cell injections in early March following an offseason of soreness in the labrum in his right shoulder. The Cardinals were hopeful that the injections, rest and a strengthening program might allow Reyes, 27, to avoid surgery. Now, the talented right-hander’s future of pitching again this season -- and possibly ever again -- could be in serious jeopardy.

“We’ll know more in the next couple of days,” Marmol said. “I believe the last thing he did [prior to experiencing soreness] was mound catch. Mound catch, not a full bullpen session. Very [discouraging] and I feel for the guy because he’s gone through a lot. Hopefully he comes out of this OK.”

Reyes, once considered to be the top pitching prospect in the Minor Leagues, has seen his career filled with injury-related stops and starts. He thought he was finally beyond those issues last season when he became a first-time NL All-Star. He converted his first 22 save opportunities before soreness and wildness in the strike zone resulted in him eventually losing his closer job to Giovanny Gallegos.

Reyes, who had recently been upbeat about the progress he was making, has spent this season around the Cardinals, doing his rehab work in St. Louis often before and after games. In parts of five seasons, Reyes has appeared in just 101 games -- seven as a starter. He is 16-11 with a 2.86 ERA while also adding in 31 saves in 36 opportunities in his MLB career. -- John Denton (Last updated: May 15)

Non 40-man

RHP (Tommy John surgery)
Expected return
: 2022
Newsome, who was claimed by the Cardinals at the end of October, underwent Tommy John surgery during the 2021 season and should be ready later in the 2022 season. Newsome was one of the 153 players invited to the Cardinals' Minor League Spring Training camp. Newsome continues to work his way back after last appearing in seven games in the 2021 season with the Mariners. -- John Denton (Last updated: March 16)