Injuries & Moves: Flaherty (shoulder) on track in recovery

May 17th, 2022

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


May 15: RHP optioned to Triple-A Memphis; RHP activated from injured list
With Wainwright returning from a positive COVID test, the Cardinals had to option Woodford to Memphis to make room on the roster for their staff ace. Woodford battled Drew VerHagen and Jordan Hicks for the No. 5 starting spot in the rotation in the spring, but that competition resulted in Hicks winning the job. Woodford, 25, has been used mostly in long relief this season. He appeared in just seven games while compiling a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings.

“It was a really tough call, and we didn’t love having to make that move,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “We communicated it to him, and he took it well. He didn’t love it, but he understood it. He was developing well and was pitching well, and it came down to the numbers with getting VerHagen back [from the injured list] and getting [Wainwright] back, so we felt like this was our best move.”

Marmol said the move allows Woodford to move back into the starting rotation at Memphis. He added that the steady buildup of Hicks -- who has been limited to a certain number of pitches in his five starts -- lessens the need for a long reliever such as Woodford at the MLB level. -- John Denton

May 14: RHP Drew VerHagen returns; LHP Packy Naughton optioned to Triple-A Memphis
VerHagen, who has been on the IL since April 22 with a right hip impingement, was activated. To make room on the roster, Naughton was optioned to Memphis. VerHagen, who spent the previous two seasons pitching in Japan, threw well in his two rehab assignments and was originally scheduled to throw a third outing before the change was made. “When you look at our usage in the 'pen, we could use those [VerHagen] innings here,” manager Oliver Marmol said. “We had him scheduled to throw one more down there but we just figured we could use him more here.”

VerHagen battled for the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation in Spring Training before a disastrous outing against the Marlins sabotaged that bid. Instead, he pitched out of the bullpen in three outings and compiled a 5.79 ERA. A big part of his issues, he said, was the hip tightness that restricted his ability to push off the rubber and finish his pitches.

Naughton, who the Cardinals got off waivers from the Angels, was a surprise spot starter Tuesday and yielded five hits and three runs over 3 1/3 innings to the Orioles. On Friday, he pitched well against the Giants, striking out three in 1 1/3 innings. Sending Naughton down gives the Cardinals little left-handed insurance if TJ McFarland (three runs and three hits on Friday) continues to struggle.

“It needs to improve,” Marmol said when asked about his level of concern with his lefties out of the bullpen. “I believe in McFarland’s stuff and his ability to get guys out.” -- John Denton


10-day and 15-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 17)

60-day IL

RHP Alex Reyes (right shoulder soreness)
Expected return:
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)