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Prospects Knizner, Ortiz added to Futures Game

MLB.com

Top prospects Andrew Knizner of the Cardinals and Luis Ortiz of the Brewers have been named replacements for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday at Nationals Park in Washington.

Knizner will take the spot of A's catcher Sean Murphy, who was placed on the disabled list on Monday. The right-hander Ortiz will fill in for righty Forrest Whitley of the Astros, who left his start on Monday with an injury.

Top prospects Andrew Knizner of the Cardinals and Luis Ortiz of the Brewers have been named replacements for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game on Sunday at Nationals Park in Washington.

Knizner will take the spot of A's catcher Sean Murphy, who was placed on the disabled list on Monday. The right-hander Ortiz will fill in for righty Forrest Whitley of the Astros, who left his start on Monday with an injury.

SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game rosters

Knizner, 23, is ranked the Cards' No. 5 prospect, and is hitting .318/.386/.430 between stints at Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. Power may be the last raw tool that eludes him as he continues his ascent toward the Majors; he has just three homers in 223 at-bats this year. Knizner spent three weeks with Memphis earlier this season -- the first time he's reached that level -- when Carson Kelly was called up to St. Louis to fill in while Yadier Molina recovered from emergency surgery following a pelvic injury. In that stretch, Knizer impressed with a .333/.400/.444 line.

:: 2018 Futures Game coverage ::

Taken with what was touted as a sneaky solid pick in the seventh round in 2016 by St. Louis, Knizner had his true break out during the Arizona Fall League last season.

Ortiz, 22, is Milwaukee's No. 4 prospect, and remains at Double-A Biloxi as he works toward a season in full health after battling forearm and hamstring issues early in his young career. He's on his way to exceeding the career-high 94 1/3 innings this year, now at 49 frames with a career-high 4.41 ERA across 12 outings. He also has 51 strikeouts and a 1.235 WHIP.

Ortiz, who was drafted by the Rangers with the 30th overall pick in 2014 and came over in the Jonathan Lucroy trade with Texas in 2016, got his first glimpse of Spring Training with the big league club this year. Scouting reports indicate that if Ortiz can remain healthy and condition his body to fully exploit his 6-foot-3 frame, he has the potential to be a No. 3 starter in a big league rotation.

Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.

Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Andrew Knizner, Luis Ortiz

Cards continue pipeline to Cuba, to ink Nunez

MLB.com

The Cardinals have been active on the Cuban market in recent years and are once again tapping into talent from the island to bolster their Minor League system.

Cardinals assistant general manager Moises Rodriguez confirmed Monday that the club agreed to a deal with third baseman Malcom Nunez of Cuba, as well as Dominican right-hander Victor Villanueva, on the first day of the new international signing period.

The Cardinals have been active on the Cuban market in recent years and are once again tapping into talent from the island to bolster their Minor League system.

Cardinals assistant general manager Moises Rodriguez confirmed Monday that the club agreed to a deal with third baseman Malcom Nunez of Cuba, as well as Dominican right-hander Victor Villanueva, on the first day of the new international signing period.

:: 2018 International Signing Period ::

According to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, Nunez received a $300,000 bonus, which was the maximum that the Cardinals could offer. They, like the A's, Astros, Braves, Nationals, Padres, Reds and White Sox, are serving a penalty for previously exceeding their bonus pool and cannot sign any individual player for more than $300,000 during the current period. Villanueva agreed to a bonus well below that max amount.

Standing at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Nunez, 17, has a strong body and is physically mature. He has exhibited strength in his swing and displays projectable hitting ability and power. Overall, he's known for his plate discipline and offensive instincts.

On defense, Nunez has an above-average arm, though he's not exceptionally agile. The Cardinals believe he has a shot at sticking at third base for the long term.

The Cardinals first started scouting Nunez when he was a 14 year old playing in Cuba's 15U Latin American Championship. The following year, Nunez starred in the 15U World Cup, leading the tournament in batting average (.667), on-base percentage (.750) and stolen bases (seven).

"We are pleased to sign a hitter of Malcom's caliber and viewed his bat among the best available," said Rodriguez, who served as the Cardinals' director of international operations before being promoted last September. "He has a track record of performing at a high level in both Cuban youth leagues and international competition, where he stood out among his peers. We thought he'd be a long shot given our signing limitations, but [director of international operations] Luis Morales, [Dominican Republic scouting supervisor] Angel Ovalles and local scouts did an excellent job of getting to know the player and putting us in position to sign him."

Nunez, who became eligible to sign during the 2017-2018 period, has been training in the Dominican Republic, which gave the Cardinals more opportunities to evaluate him and sell Nunez on their organization.

Both Nunez and Villanueva have already been assigned to the Cardinals' Dominican Summer League team. The Cardinals expect to finalize a number of additional international signings within the next two weeks.

The list of Cuban players to sign with the Cardinals during the last few years includes infielder Aledmys Diaz, who signed in 2014, outfielder Randy Arozarena, center fielder Jonatan Machado and right-handed pitcher Johan Oviedo, who all signed in 2016. Right-handed pitcher Hector Mendoza and outfielder Jose Adolis Garcia signed with the club last year.

According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the MLB Draft received a pool of $6,025,400, while clubs like the Cardinals that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Draft received a pool of $5,504,500. However, the Cardinals lost $500,000 for their signing of Greg Holland to drop their available pool to $5,004,500.

The club is allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as it would like but can only acquire 75 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward the club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.

St. Louis Cardinals

Pham misses finale with flu-like symptoms

Pitching prospect Hudson has Matheny pondering Major League role
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Roughening what he called already "a tough stretch" have been the flu-like symptoms Tommy Pham has fought for the better part of the Cardinals' current road trip. On Sunday, the illness was enough to scratch him from St. Louis' lineup.

Pham was originally in his typical No. 2 spot in the order when he arrived at Miller Park for the finale of a four-game set against the Brewers, but he was removed after feeling lightheaded in the batting cage and replaced by Harrison Bader in center field.

View Full Game Coverage

MILWAUKEE -- Roughening what he called already "a tough stretch" have been the flu-like symptoms Tommy Pham has fought for the better part of the Cardinals' current road trip. On Sunday, the illness was enough to scratch him from St. Louis' lineup.

Pham was originally in his typical No. 2 spot in the order when he arrived at Miller Park for the finale of a four-game set against the Brewers, but he was removed after feeling lightheaded in the batting cage and replaced by Harrison Bader in center field.

View Full Game Coverage

"They just kicked me out of the cage, dead serious, because I wasn't feeling well," Pham said. "I can't go hit now."

Pham said he first became ill in Philadelphia, where the Cardinals played a three-game series before coming to Milwaukee. One night there, he slept with the air condition in his hotel room at 60 degrees and woke up with a bug.

"It was at 69 degrees and I was sweating," Pham said.

He's struggled at the plate as his health worsened in the days that followed, going 0-for-14 with eight strikeouts over his past four games. Pham has struck out in each of his last six at bats, including five straight looking.

Pham is hitting .196/.241/.373 with 17 strikeouts in his last 13 games.

"I don't think it's vision-related," said Pham, who has famously battled eye problems over his career. "There have been some tough pitches. … I feel like I'm in a tough stretch right now. Once I get my mechanics under control, I'll be all right, because I can get hot for a month."

Video: STL@PHI: Ramos K's Pham to strand a pair in the 7th

Hudson continues to make his case

Though club officials considered promoting highly-touted right-hander Dakota Hudson to start Monday against the Indians, they ultimately opted for John Gant in Michael Wacha's place. But Hudson's debut appears pegged for the immediate future, whether in the Cardinals' rotation or bullpen.

It was the club's No. 3 prospect's most recent performance that had Matheny hypothesizing how he could help in either role, a day after Hudson continued to knock on the big league door. The right-hander lowered his Pacific Coast League-leading ERA to 2.04 on Saturday night at Triple-A Memphis, allowing one run over eight innings in a 2-1 Redbirds win over New Orleans, the Marlins' affiliate.

Hudson outpitched former Cardinals top prospect Sandy Alcantara in the game and is 4-0 with a 0.64 ERA over his last four starts.

"Dakota looked like he was really good," Matheny said. "A lot of ground balls. That movement [on the sinker] is outside of ordinary. What Dakota does can be translated long term into stating, but you can also picture it as being short-term help in the bullpen. You see guys with abnormal ground-ball rates, that usually means they are having success."

The Cardinals would not need to risk losing a player to add him to the 40-man roster. Instead, they could transfer Ryan Sherriff (Tommy John surgery) or Alex Reyes (season-ending lat surgery) to the 60-day disabled list.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Tommy Pham

Inbox: Prospect Hudson nearing callup?

Reporter Joe Trezza answers questions from Cardinals fans
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals just finished a nine-game stretch against the National League's three last-place teams. After going 4-5 in those games, they sit in third place in the NL Central with the Cubs coming to town.

This weekend should serve as something a litmus test. What better way to start it off than with your Cardinals questions?

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals just finished a nine-game stretch against the National League's three last-place teams. After going 4-5 in those games, they sit in third place in the NL Central with the Cubs coming to town.

This weekend should serve as something a litmus test. What better way to start it off than with your Cardinals questions?

Any chance we see Dakota Hudson sometime soon?
-- Adam Mettrick, via Twitter

The club's No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, Hudson would have to be added to the 40-man roster, which would typically provide a sizable barrier. However, the Cardinals essentially have a 40-man spot open with Alex Reyes out for the year but not yet placed on the 60-day disabled list. That makes Hudson's path here easier. But in reality, his arm is carving that path more than any logistical obstacles are standing in its way.

The power sinkerballing righty is barreling through Triple-A Memphis in his second stint there. He's gone 8-2 with a 2.18 ERA and just one home run allowed in 74 1/3 innings across 12 starts. He's been used exclusively as a starter for the past two seasons, and doesn't generate a lot of swings and misses. That's why I don't see him being called up to reinforce the bullpen, like Austin Gomber or Daniel Poncedeleon have recently. Hudson's future lies in the rotation, and it wasn't too long ago that we were saying the Cardinals had too many starters. Now with Reyes out and Luke Weaver struggling, Hudson's arrival could be pegged for some point this summer.

What's the leash with Kolten Wong and Dexter Fowler? Both are still hitting under .200 in June.
-- @314fan, via Twitter

At this point, there is no sugarcoating the offensive struggles of Wong and Fowler, who are putting up punchless seasons by virtually every metric. The short answer is they've both already played themselves into part-time roles. Neither is likely to start much this weekend, when the Cubs throw two left-handed starters.

But they also present the club with two vastly different situations. Fowler, 32, is a former All-Star in the second year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Teams invest in free agents because they believe in them and because they want the deals to work out. Those calling for Fowler to be designated for assignment or traded don't grasp the realities of his market at this point -- or the Cardinals' financial commitment to him.

Wong is in the third year of a much team-friendlier five-year, $25.5 million contract. He's five years younger than Fowler. And unlike Fowler, he's mitigated his offensive struggles by providing surplus defensive value. Wong rates as one of the top fielding second basemen in all of baseball, which is why he'll continue to play in some capacity, whether a starter or late-game defensive replacement. The whole package -- age, cost, athleticism -- would also make Wong easier to move at this point, should the team explore that route.

On the field, finding opportunities for Fowler becomes much trickier, especially with Harrison Bader playing like his hair is on fire. Bader has gobbled up Fowler's at bats against lefties while proving a far superior defender, and he continues to turn heads with his elite speed.

I thought the comments of president of baseball operations John Mozeliak on the matter from earlier this week were very telling:

"You're trying to get people going, you try to get people opportunities. But when someone is playing well, how do you pull them out of the lineup? I think the manager is in a tough spot," Mozeliak said. "This is the big leagues. We're here to win baseball games. The big leagues is not a developmental league. At some point, you have to go with who you have the most faith in at the moment, or the hot hand."

What's the plan for Jordan Hicks' workload?
-- @CardinalsGIFS, via Twitter

I asked Mozeliak this very question earlier this week. He told me it was "a great question," which I of course found flattering. But then I remembered why people use that phrase -- not to compliment the interviewer, but to express that they, in fact, are still searching for the answer themselves.

In short, the Cardinals are still trying to figuring it out. Hicks is a unique case, given his age and the ferocity with which he delivers the baseball. A 21-year-old who throws 105 mph? Who shot up from Class A? There are literally no comps. So this is sort of new territory for everyone.

Here are the facts: Hicks is very young. His fastball eclipses 100 mph more than any other pitcher on Earth. He pitched 105 innings last year, a career high, and 60 2/3 innings the year before that. He was in high school the year prior. More facts: This season, Hicks has made 31 appearances through 68 games, throwing 35 innings. That puts him on a roughly 73-appearance pace -- exactly the number Brett Cecil made last season, tied for fourth most in the NL.

"Our hope is that he does not approach 75 appearances," Mozeliak said. "Clearly at this pace, he would be. Which is why we have to find someone else we can go to in that bullpen."

"We have to be smart," he continued. "The one problem we have right now is that he's been very successful of late in a bullpen that's struggled. So you naturally want to go to him. We have to force ourselves to manage that."

Mozeliak did not rule out the possibility of taking Hicks off the Major League roster at some point, his performance notwithstanding, to do so.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals sign top 2018 Draft pick Gorman

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Before Nolan Gorman became the first player born in the 2000s drafted by a Major League club, before he was awed by a handshake offered from Yadier Molina, before he cranked his first batting practice home run out of Busch Stadium, the 17-year-old received some big league advice. The lesson came courtesy of former All-Star first baseman and current MLB Network analyst Sean Casey.

Draft Tracker: Every Cardinals pick

View Full Game Coverage

ST. LOUIS -- Before Nolan Gorman became the first player born in the 2000s drafted by a Major League club, before he was awed by a handshake offered from Yadier Molina, before he cranked his first batting practice home run out of Busch Stadium, the 17-year-old received some big league advice. The lesson came courtesy of former All-Star first baseman and current MLB Network analyst Sean Casey.

Draft Tracker: Every Cardinals pick

View Full Game Coverage

"It's a grind and you have to keep yourself under the water of that the whole time," Gorman recalled Casey telling him recently. "You can't come up for air. That was the biggest piece of advice I've been given."

Gorman will soon put it into practice. The Cardinals first-round pick's professional career is slated to begin at Class A Johnson City later this week after officially signing with the club Monday, when he was introduced at Busch Stadium. A source confirmed Gorman agreed to the slot value of $3,231,000 for his Draft-pick selection (No. 19 overall).

The club is also in agreement with supplemental first-round selection Griffin Roberts. A right-hander from Wake Forrest with experience as both a starter and reliever, Roberts is scheduled to undergo a physical later this week. MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis reported the deal is for full slot value of $1,664,200 (No. 43 overall) on Monday afternoon.

Gorman and Roberts are the Cardinals' first 2018 Draft selections to agree to contracts with the club.

"Hopefully, we'll see a bunch more signings in the next four to five days," president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said.

Video: Draft 2018: Cardinals draft RHP Griffin Roberts 43rd

A third baseman from Sandra Day O'Connor High School in Phoenix, Ariz., Gorman was among the premier power hitting prospects in this year's Draft class. He was ranked MLB Pipeline's No. 12 overall prospect in this year's Top 200 crop, thanks in large part to an ability to hit for power scouts touted as high as 70 grade on the 20-to-80 scouting scale.

Gorman rocketed up draft boards last summer after winning two prestigious national home run derbies, one at the MLB All-Star Game in Miami and another at the Under Armour All-American Game in Chicago.

"You don't need to project his power," Girsch said. "It's more of a projection of, how does that power translate into games? Does he have enough contact ability to let that power play? But for a guy like Gorman, his power is 'now' power. We're not dreaming on it. He has power today."

On Monday he showed a glimpse of that, sending several pitches into the seats during four rounds of batting practice prior to the Cardinals' series opener against the Padres. Gorman was given a temporary locker in the Cardinals' clubhouse, where he was welcomed by members of the current team, including Molina, whom he said he grew up watching.

Accompanied by his parents, Brian and Jennifer, grandparents Anna and Tom, brother and girlfriend, Gorman's first trip to St. Louis included a visit of the Cardinals Hall of Fame on Monday. He said an extended tour of the city is planned for the coming days, before his Minor League journey commences.

"It's been amazing. I've dreamed of this my whole life," Gorman said "This stadium is really cool. It's huge, and there are a lot of people watching you."

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cards pick Gil follows dad's path to pro ball

Third rounder's father, Benji, won World Series with Angels in 2002
MLB.com

Mateo Gil woke up around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday -- 30 minutes before Day 2 of the 2018 MLB Draft started. He was up late after an emotional first night, when he and his family thought he could be picked.

Then, with the 95th overall pick in the Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals selected the Keller Timber Creek (Texas) High School shortstop.

Mateo Gil woke up around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday -- 30 minutes before Day 2 of the 2018 MLB Draft started. He was up late after an emotional first night, when he and his family thought he could be picked.

Then, with the 95th overall pick in the Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals selected the Keller Timber Creek (Texas) High School shortstop.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

"It was like a tornado going through my house with my parents talking to my agents. It was crazy and it happened so fast," Gil said. "After I got picked, it felt like everything was just done, like finally it was all over with."

Gil comes from a baseball family. His parents, Carly and Benji, met on a blind date. Carly sang the national anthem at a Rangers game while Benji was playing for Texas. Benji spent his eight big league seasons with the Rangers and Angels, winning a World Series championship with Anaheim in 2002. And while Benji was away from home playing ball, three-year-old Gil sat in right field during tee ball, picking flowers.

"I was honestly never really interested in baseball at that age, when he was still in Major leagues," Mateo said. "I wasn't into the game at all."

After Benji's professional career in the MLB was finished, he played and eventually coached the Tomateros de Culican in the Mexican Pacific League. For the first six or seven years of Gil's life, Benji was away.

"I think when kids are little, [baseball life] takes away their dad, and who wants to do that? So he was gone a lot of the time and it left Mateo to learn a lot of it himself," Carly said.

Benji said Carly picked up the slack in raising their two children, Mateo and Gehrig, for the years he was mostly away for. In the meantime, Mateo was manufacturing his own path in baseball.

Tweet from @Carly_J_Gil: 2002 World Series seems like yesterday! What an amazing baseball experience both the #LADodgers & #Astros gave us! Congrats #AstrosWin ! pic.twitter.com/HBKJCCsVGO

When Mateo was seven, he joined a youth coach-pitch team, where he first began dominating the competition.

"I thought I was doing better than all the other guys, and that I was going to be a Hall of Famer, because coach-pitch was so easy," Mateo said.

And what better way is there to learn the professional game than from a pro himself? When Mateo was 7 years old, his father was able to be home more. Being able to learn baseball from his father gave him an advantage few others had. Carly said she always knew Mateo would be a pro ballplayer, because there was no Plan B, and at around age 12, Gil and Benji saw it was a feasible goal, too.

"I really thought I had a chance around that age, when I started playing with older kids, and I can do things the other kids can't without much effort," Mateo said.

Having Benji in his corner was crucial, but Mateo didn't always recognize it as such.

"I really didn't even think of him as a baseball player, just as my dad. He took a managing job down in Mexico, and that's when my eyes really opened up, because all these players are listening to what he has to say," Mateo said. "Maybe I was little bit stubborn, because he was my dad."

Video: Perfect Game Nationals Showcase: Mateo Gil

Mateo has always been a standout player. In his senior year at Timber Creek, he batted .380/.474/.758 with seven home runs, 44 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. He's had a plethora of instructors, including his hard-working mother, who made constant sacrifices to raise him and Gehrig, and his father, who got to pass on his pro-ball wisdom.

"A lot of people say and know that it's a game of adjustments, and I've tried to explain what those are along the way," Benji said. "Sometimes it's hard for a young player that doesn't struggle often, because they play competition where [their own] talent surpasses the competition. There will be struggles and difficulties through your career. It's going to happen, and learning to make adjustments quickly will help the slumps not last as long."

That's just one lesson Mateo will take with him on his professional journey to the Cardinals.

Sean Collins is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals add plethora of arms to finish Draft

Club selects 19 pitchers over three days
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- 2018 was a different feel for the Cardinals in the MLB Draft. Last year, the Cards had no picks in the first two rounds, and scouting director Randy Flores said they were ready to get going this year.

"My hope is that balance is part of it. My hope is that no overarching theme, year over year, presents itself," Flores said. "Today, we were really looking for some arms, as you could tell. Additionally, compared to years prior, I don't think that you saw as much of a senior influence, or presence or mandate, right out of the gate."

ST. LOUIS -- 2018 was a different feel for the Cardinals in the MLB Draft. Last year, the Cards had no picks in the first two rounds, and scouting director Randy Flores said they were ready to get going this year.

"My hope is that balance is part of it. My hope is that no overarching theme, year over year, presents itself," Flores said. "Today, we were really looking for some arms, as you could tell. Additionally, compared to years prior, I don't think that you saw as much of a senior influence, or presence or mandate, right out of the gate."

The Cardinals selected slugger Nolan Gorman from Sandra Day O'Connor (Ariz.) High School in the first round (No. 19 overall) on Monday. Gorman offers unique power at the plate, and the Cardinals have him slotted as a third baseman.

Video: Draft 2018: Cardinals draft 3B Nolan Gorman No. 19

The Cards also took some risks. Slugger Luken Baker (TCU), who was selected in the second round, and left-hander Steven Gingery (Texas Tech), who was taken in the fourth round, missed this season with injuries. Baker fractured his left fibula and Gingery underwent Tommy John surgery, but the Cardinals still see their upside to be worthy of early-round selections.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

High school players weren't a major focus for the Cardinals, but after Gorman, they selected Mateo Gil, son of former Angels and Rangers player Benji Gil, in the third round (No. 95 overall). Flores said they like what Gil offers up the middle of the diamond at shortstop, and learning from his father could be beneficial.

On Day 3, the Cardinals showed a theme: interest in college pitchers. The Cards' Minor League system needed replenished with arms, and they used 16 picks on pitchers Wednesday. St. Louis also drafted six shortstop and four catchers.

Another consistency was family. The Cardinals selected catcher Carson Kelly's brother, Parker.

"How cool was that? We were thrilled for that, what a great opportunity, and we're just pumped for the Kelly family," Flores said.

The Cardinals also selected catcher Benito Santiago Jr., whose father played in the Major Leagues for 20 years, in the 34th round.

"If you're wondering how he looks behind the plate, whether he's rough or smooth, I'd guess on the smooth side," Flores said.

Video: MLB Draft: Flores talks Cards' Day 2 selections

Overall, the Cardinals selected 19 pitchers, six shortstops, four catchers, five outfielders, three second basemen, two third basemen and two first basemen. They drafted five high schoolers, two junior college players, 18 college juniors and 15 college seniors.

"We'll now see what the result of it is years from now, after the cameras go away and after the first-10-day stat line is tweeted out and years go by, then we really see how this worked out," Flores said. "But to work this hard, with this group of people, is an amazing feeling."

Sean Collins is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals draft Gil, add versatility to system

MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Day 2 of the 2018 MLB Draft is complete, and the Cardinals showed they want versatility in their system. The Cards drafted four infielders, three pitchers, two outfielders and a catcher on Tuesday. Power was still an obvious priority for St. Louis, as it drafted several sluggers, but proven collegiate pitchers were also a major focus.

"The day started off with a couple of picks that we were just really pleased with, and then you go all the way to the ninth and 10th [rounds] and we found some fits that we really are intrigued about what their professional development entails," Cardinals scouting director Randy Flores said. "And so I think it was a good day."

ST. LOUIS -- Day 2 of the 2018 MLB Draft is complete, and the Cardinals showed they want versatility in their system. The Cards drafted four infielders, three pitchers, two outfielders and a catcher on Tuesday. Power was still an obvious priority for St. Louis, as it drafted several sluggers, but proven collegiate pitchers were also a major focus.

"The day started off with a couple of picks that we were just really pleased with, and then you go all the way to the ninth and 10th [rounds] and we found some fits that we really are intrigued about what their professional development entails," Cardinals scouting director Randy Flores said. "And so I think it was a good day."

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at 11 a.m. CT.

After starting Day 2 by drafting a high school player, the Cards picked eight players that stayed at the collegiate level for at least three years. Here's a recap of the Cardinals' action on Day 2:

Video: Draft 2018: Cardinals draft SS Mateo Gil No. 95

Round 3: SS Mateo Gil, Keller Timber Creek (Texas) HS
The Cardinals selected TCU commit Mateo Gil with the No. 95 pick. Gil is the son of former Angels and Rangers infielder Benji Gil, who won the World Series with the Halos in 2002.

"Him having that background and familiarity with the Minor League process, and the obstacles and roadblocks that are all normal as a part of being a 19-year-old professional ball player every day, I think he's positioned well for that," Flores said.

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

Gil batted .380/.475/.758 with seven home runs, 44 RBIs and 22 stolen bases during his senior season. He also was the team's closer, throwing a low-to-mid-90s fastball. He was named to the Rawlings Perfect Game All-American third team.

"We really do like his ability up the middle of the diamond," Flores said. "Sometimes we say on college picks that in the professional setting, maybe their best days are ahead of them, that they still have more development. And with Mateo, we really saw that progress from his summer, his fall, his early spring and even his spring, he just got better and better and better as he gained momentum."

Round 4: LHP Steven Gingery, Texas Tech
Gingery was selected with the No. 123 overall pick. The lefty pitched only 2 1/3 innings for the Red Raiders this season because he tore his ulnar collateral ligament. Gingery underwent Tommy John surgery in February.

In 2017, Gingery went 10-1 in 15 starts with a 1.58 ERA and 107 strikeouts. He was the 2017 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year and was selected as a unanimous first-team All-American.

"If you adhere to the model that pitchers get hurt, and they get hurt big once, then I guess you can buy into that," Flores said. "That being said, the last thing I want to do is start making that a pattern of our Draft behavior. But for the opportunity provided this year, we were willing to take that risk."

Round 5: 2B Nick Dunn, Maryland
Dunn was recently named a second-team All-American after a stellar junior season at Maryland. The Cardinals drafted four infielders in the first five rounds, and Dunn adds to that power at the plate.

Dunn batted .330 in 212 at-bats with 10 homers and 39 RBIs for the Terrapins. He was a first-team All-Big 10 selection.

Round 6: RHP Edgar Gonzalez, Fresno State
Gonzalez was a first-team All-Mountain West as a junior this season. He pitched 95 innings, posting a 2.84 ERA with 110 strikeouts.

Gonzalez recorded three double-digit strikeout games this season, including a career-high 17 vs. Houston Baptist on Feb. 24, four shy of the school record set by former Cardinals pitcher Jeff Weaver.

Round 7: OF Brendan Donovan, University of South Alabama
Donovan was the first outfielder selected by the Cardinals in the Draft. Donovan batted .302 in 202 at-bats with 51 runs, five home runs, 17 doubles and 55 RBIs this season.

On the South Alabama athletics website, Donovan listed Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter as his favorite player.

Donavan hit a walk-off single in the Sun Belt Conference championship to give South Alabama its first conference title since 2005, when former Cardinals player David Freese played there.

Round 8: LF Lars Nootbaar, USC
Nootbar batted .249 in 54 games this year for the Trojans, collecting six home runs and 24 RBIs.

Nootbaar is a versatile player on defense. He's most recently played in left and right field, but he often played around the infield during his freshman year at USC.

The Orioles drafted Nootbaar's brother, Nigel, in the 12th round in 2014, and he played two years in their Minor League system.

Round 9: C Matthew Duce, Dallas Baptist
Duce batted .234 with 19 doubles, 10 home runs and 51 RBIs in 231 at-bats during his senior season this year.

"When you have a chance to add catching depth, and you have a chance to add power, it's something you do anywhere," Flores said.

Duce was previously drafted by the Mets in the 14th round of the 2017 Draft.

Round 10: 1B Kevin Woodall Jr., Coastal Carolina
Woodall batted .298 in 245 at-bats in 62 games this season. He recorded 71 runs and 19 home runs for the Chanticleers.

Woodall played 12 of 14 games in Coastal Carolina's national-championship run in the 2016 College World Series, collecting four hits.

Sean Collins is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cards draft 3B Gorman, first pick born in 2000s

St. Louis caps Day 1 with right-hander Roberts and first baseman Baker
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals scouting director Randy Flores arched his back, raised his arm and pointed to a far off point beyond the right-field wall at Busch Stadium. He was demonstrating where the Cardinals hope their latest first-round pick will soon be depositing baseballs.

After sitting out the first round last year, the Cardinals used their top pick this year to inject light-tower power in their system, drafting prep infielder Nolan Gorman with the No. 19 overall pick. A third baseman from Sandra Day O'Connor High School in Phoenix, the left-handed-hitting Gorman is considered one of the top slugging prospects in this year's class. If the Cardinals can convince him to bypass his commitment to the University of Arizona, Gorman would add exceptional raw power to a farm system low on sluggers outside No. 2 prospect Tyler O'Neill.

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals scouting director Randy Flores arched his back, raised his arm and pointed to a far off point beyond the right-field wall at Busch Stadium. He was demonstrating where the Cardinals hope their latest first-round pick will soon be depositing baseballs.

After sitting out the first round last year, the Cardinals used their top pick this year to inject light-tower power in their system, drafting prep infielder Nolan Gorman with the No. 19 overall pick. A third baseman from Sandra Day O'Connor High School in Phoenix, the left-handed-hitting Gorman is considered one of the top slugging prospects in this year's class. If the Cardinals can convince him to bypass his commitment to the University of Arizona, Gorman would add exceptional raw power to a farm system low on sluggers outside No. 2 prospect Tyler O'Neill.

"I think it really came when I was 12 years old," Gorman said. "I hit about 18 home runs over three trips to Cooperstown for tournaments. That's when I really knew that I had some power."

Draft Tracker: Follow every Cardinals Draft pick

:: 2018 Draft coverage ::

A half decade later, Gorman leaped to the top of Draft boards in part by flashing that strength on the national stage. Showing raw power some scouts consider as high as 70-grade (on a 20-80 scale), Norman captured both titles at the All-Star Game High School Home Run Derby in Miami and the Under Armour All-American Game Home Run Derby at Wrigley Field. Both crowns came last summer, before Gorman returned to school to help lead O'Connor to a state championship this spring. Under the tutelage of former MLB infielder Damion Easley, who coaches at the school, Gorman hit .421 with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs across 32 games as a senior.

"He's been a huge help to develop the swing that I have now," Gorman said. "I've got a natural upward angle in my swing, so we really haven't worried about launch angle or anything. He just thinks getting in the right position on time to hit the ball is good enough, and that's pretty much what we focused on the whole year."

But like with most young sluggers, some of Gorman's power came with a trade off. Projected by some to go as high as the top-10 picks, he dropped to St. Louis at No. 19 in part because of his inability to make consistent contact at times this spring.

"We love what he brings to the batter's box, and we're curious to see how that develops when we give him time," Flores said. "When you're younger, there is uncertainty, and sometimes that uncertainty is a good thing. If you go through three years of college with swing-and-miss issues, there is certainty there are those swing and miss issues. With youth, you'll see. There is time to settle through those."

Video: Flores on Gorman pick

The slot value for the 19th overall pick is $3,231,700.

Born on May 10, 2000, Gorman is the first child of the 2000s to be drafted. He is also close childhood friends with left-hander Matthew Liberatore, who was drafted No. 16 overall by the Rays. He represents a stark shift in strategy for the Cardinals, who targeted either toolsy outfielders or projectable arms with their last dozen first-round picks dating back to '12.

"He has a different profile than what we've drafted before," Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said.

The club's second pick of the night profiled in a more familiar way. With the final pick of Competitive Balance Round A, the Cardinals selected right-hander Griffin Roberts from Wake Forrest. A star of the Cape Cod League last summer, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Roberts went 5-4 with a 3.82 ERA in 14 starts for the Demon Deacons this spring, striking out 130 batters across 96 2/3 innings. The No. 43 pick, where Roberts was selected, is valued at $1.7 million.

Roberts is the eighth pitcher taken by the Cardinals in first round since 2012, the fifth from the college ranks. He also has experience as a reliever and is considered a candidate to rise quickly if used in that role.

"This year, he wound up taking a power-closer arsenal, and took it into a starter role," Flores said. "Our hope and aim is for him to be in the rotation, but candidly, we all see how big league bullpens and rosters are expanding, also."

Video: Draft 2018: Cardinals draft RHP Griffin Roberts 43rd

After targeting power and experience with their first two selections, the Cardinals combined that approach with their final pick of the night, selecting college slugger Luken Baker at No. 75 overall. A former two-way player, Baker switched full-time to hitting as a sophomore at Texas Christian University. He hit .319 with nine home runs as the Horned Frogs' first baseman this spring before a broken leg truncated his season after 31 games.

"If he did not get hurt, it's tough for me to think he's in play for us," Flores said.

Video: Draft 2018: Cardinals draft 1B Luken Baker No. 75

The Draft continues Tuesday. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of Day 2 begins with a live Draft show at 11:30 a.m. CT and takes you through Rounds 3-10 with live analysis from Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cardinals Draft preview: projected pick at No. 19

Club expected to restock system with arms
MLB.com

The Cardinals have long been considered one of baseball's best franchises at developing homegrown talent, and all across their current clubhouse, evidence that they still are is plain to see. A plethora of players to appear at the big league level this year were originally selected by the club, from 35-year-old Yadier Molina to 21-year-old Jordan Hicks.

Starting today, St. Louis will scour the amateur ranks for the next generation in the MLB Draft.

The Cardinals have long been considered one of baseball's best franchises at developing homegrown talent, and all across their current clubhouse, evidence that they still are is plain to see. A plethora of players to appear at the big league level this year were originally selected by the club, from 35-year-old Yadier Molina to 21-year-old Jordan Hicks.

Starting today, St. Louis will scour the amateur ranks for the next generation in the MLB Draft.

The 2018 Draft will take place today through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com today at 6 p.m. ET. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1. MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET. Then, Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at noon ET.

Go to MLB.com/Draft to see the Top 200 Prospects list, projected top picks from MLB Pipeline analysts Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, the complete order of selection and more. And follow @MLBDraft on Twitter to see what Draft hopefuls, clubs and experts are saying. Here's how the Draft is shaping up for the Cardinals, whose first selection is the 19th overall pick.

Video: Mayo breaks down Top 200 Draft prospects

In about 50 words
Look for the Cardinals to focus on restocking what's considered a top-heavy farm system with arms early, especially after losing Sandy Alcantara in the deal for Marcell Ozuna this winter. They've selected only one pitcher in the first round since 2015, after drafting six between 2012-15.

The scoop
This will be Randy Flores' third season directing the Cardinals' efforts in the Draft, under the title of scouting director. Last year, the Cardinals didn't have a pick until the third round, forfeiting their first-round pick by signing Dexter Fowler and two additional picks as punishment from MLB for the Astros hacking scandal.

First-round buzz
Both MLB.com's Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo have projected the Cardinals to take Stetson right-hander Logan Gilbert at No. 19 in their recent mock drafts, though Mayo notes there is a chance Gilbert is off the board by then.

St. Louis is mostly mentioned with pitchers, meaning there is a chance they nab a prep arm if any lasts longer than expected. If not, they'll likely target a college hurler. Florida righty Jackson Kowar and Mississippi lefty Ryan Rolison both fit that mold.

Video: Draft Report: Ryan Rolison, College pitcher

Money matters
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $125,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.

Any team going up to five percent over its allotted pool will be taxed at a 75-percent rate on the overage. A team that overspends by 5-10 percent gets a 75-percent tax plus the loss of a first-round pick. A team that goes 10-15 percent over its pool amount will be hit with a 100-percent penalty on the overage and the loss of a first- and second-round pick. Any overage of 15 percent or more gets a 100-percent tax plus the loss of first-round picks in the next two Drafts.

This year, the Cardinals have a pool of $ $7,968,400, with the first-round pick valued at $3,231,700.

Video: Draft Report: Jackson Kowar, College pitcher

Shopping list
The Cardinals took position players with their first five selections last year, and with six of their first nine picks in 2016. They could pivot from that strategy to even-out the lower rungs of a system that recently graduated Alex Reyes, Jack Flaherty, Luke Weaver and Hicks to the Majors. Another area of focus could be middle-infield depth.

Trend watch
The Cardinals plucked from the high school ranks with four of their last five first-round picks dating back to 2015. Then absent of a first-round pick last year, they grabbed college bats with their first three selections. It's the collegians that have made the most big league impact in recent years, most notably Weaver, Michael Wacha and Kolten Wong.

Rising fast
You can't rise much faster than Hicks, who made his MLB debut this season three years removed from high school. The 21-year-old with a triple-digit arm jumped from Class A to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster, and is now one of their most trusted relievers.

Austin Gomber tossed three innings of scoreless relief in his Major League debut Saturday after spending five days in St. Louis without appearing in a game last month. Another prospect banging on the big league door, Dakota Hudson, is 6-2 with a 2.69 ERA in his first season with the Redbirds.

Video: PIT@STL: Gomber hurls three scoreless frames in debut

Cinderella story
Much of the Cardinals' roster and top prospect ranks are occupied by top-5 round picks that rose as expected through the system. But their best everyday player, Tommy Pham, was a 16th-round selection all the way back in 2006 out of Durango High School in Las Vegas. Pham spent parts of 12 seasons in the Minors before breaking out as an MVP candidate last year at age 29.

In the show
20 members of the current 40-man roster were originally Cardinals' Draft selections: Harrison Bader (2015, 3rd round), Matt Carpenter (2009, 13th round), Paul DeJong (2015, 4th round), Flaherty (2014, 1st round), Greg Garcia (2010, 7th round), Gomber (2014, 4th round), Luke Gregerson (2006, 28th round), Hicks (2015, 3rd round), Carson Kelly (2012, 2nd round), Tyler Lyons (2010, 9th round), Mike Mayers (2013, 3rd round), Oscar Mercado (2013, 2nd round), Molina (2000, fourth round), Pham (2006, 16th round), Ryan Sherriff (2011, 28th round), Sam Tuivailala (2010, 3rd round), Luke Voit (2013, 22nd round), Wacha (2012, 1st round), Weaver (2014, 1st round), Wong (2011, 1st round).

The Cardinals' recent top picks
2017: Scott Hurst, CF (Class A Peoria)
2016: Delvin Perez, SS (Extended spring training)
2015: Nick Plummer, OF (Class A Peoria)
2014: Luke Weaver, RHP (Majors)
2013: Marco Gonzales, LHP (Majors, Mariners)
2012: Michael Wacha, RHP (Majors)
2011: Kolten Wong, 2B (Majors)

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals

Cards' Reyes to DL with 'significant' lat strain

St. Louis calls up Voit, Mayers, Gomber; O'Neill, Gant optioned to Triple-A Memphis
MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- A day after Alex Reyes' long-awaited season debut was truncated after four innings, the Cardinals placed Reyes on the 10-day disabled list Thursday with what general manager Michael Girsch said was "a significant" right lat strain.

"It is not going to be a couple starts [that Reyes will miss], it is going to be more than a few starts," Girsch said. "We don't have all the information yet, so we don't know beyond that how long it's going to be, but it is not a minor injury and we're gathering more information."

View Full Game Coverage

ST. LOUIS -- A day after Alex Reyes' long-awaited season debut was truncated after four innings, the Cardinals placed Reyes on the 10-day disabled list Thursday with what general manager Michael Girsch said was "a significant" right lat strain.

"It is not going to be a couple starts [that Reyes will miss], it is going to be more than a few starts," Girsch said. "We don't have all the information yet, so we don't know beyond that how long it's going to be, but it is not a minor injury and we're gathering more information."

View Full Game Coverage

The right-hander, who threw 73 pitches in the Cardinals' 3-2 loss to the Brewers on Wednesday, missed all of the 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery. Having another setback after a 22-month recovery was a tough pill to swallow for Reyes and the Cards.

Video: MLB Tonight breaks down Reyes' start

"I don't know how to properly describe it," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You could see it in his eyes. He was beyond sad."

Morning Lineup Podcast: Reyes back to DL

Reyes' velocity began to drop in the fourth inning against the Brewers, prompting the Cardinals staff to check on him. He was able to finish the inning with pitches back in the mid-to-upper 90's.

Reyes assured the staff he felt fine, but then realized something was wrong after the game.

"Postgame when the adrenaline went away, he was stiff and sore," Girsch said. "Stiff and sore enough that we knew we were going to DL him."

However, Reyes and the Cardinals were surprised at the extent of the injury after doctors checked him out Thursday morning. The club is in the process of setting an appointment for Reyes to see a specialist for a second opinion.

The Cardinals made a flurry of other moves Thursday, optioning outfielder Tyler O'Neill and right-hander John Gant to Triple-A Memphis and recalling first baseman Luke Voit, right-hander Mike Mayers and left-hander Austin Gomber in corresponding moves.

O'Neill, who hit home runs in three consecutive games from May 19-21, was hitless in his last 13 at-bats with 10 strikeouts during that span.

"Certainly after that hot start he was struggling, but also he just needs to play," Girsch said. "With how well Harrison [Bader] is playing as our fourth outfielder and getting some playing time as a starter, O'Neill is just not going to get a lot of playing time up here."

Gomber, who this past week was named as Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week, was recalled to the Majors last month but did not appear in a game for St. Louis. The rookie left-hander is 4-3 with a 3.60 ERA in nine starts for Memphis. He will be used as a reliever.

Mayers, who has appeared in 10 games (1-0, 2.63 ERA) for St. Louis this season, was optioned on Wednesday to make room for Reyes, but has immediately been returned to the roster as an injury replacement.

The right-handed-hitting Voit had a short stint on the Cardinals' roster in early May, but never saw any game action. He's batting .237 with one homer and 12 RBIs in 34 games for Memphis this season.

Injury updates
• RHP Carlos Martinez (right lat strain) will throw 60-70 pitches in a rehab start at Double-A Springfield on Thursday night. Girsch would not rule out starting Martinez in place of Reyes on Tuesday if all goes well.

• C Yadier Molina (pelvic injury with traumatic hematoma) resumed baseball activities and is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Saturday at Springfield.

• RHP Matt Bowman (right finger blisters) threw a bullpen session. He will throw a couple more sessions before a decision is made as to when he will return.

• RHP Luke Gregerson (right shoulder impingement) began a throwing program.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

St. Louis Cardinals, Alex Reyes

Reyes set for 1st start since Tommy John surgery

Cardinals' top pitching prospect will face Brewers at Miller Park Wednesday
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- Even as he banged down the Major League door last week in Memphis, a final rehab start for the ages under his belt, Alex Reyes refused to look ahead. Not until he stepped back on a big league mound, felt the dirt under his spikes and the energy in the stands, would he consider his arduous journey back from Tommy John surgery truly complete.

Now, that day has arrived. The Cardinals' No.1 prospect will make his first Major League start since September 29, 2016, Wednesday afternoon against the Brewers at Miller Park in a game airing exclusively via Facebook Live. It's a return more than 15 months in the making, and anticipation has crept past the walls of the Cardinals' clubhouse. Text messages buzzed into Reyes' phone this week from St. Louis, where Adam Wainwright is nursing an elbow injury, offering congratulations and encouragement. Further evidence then arrived via Elizabeth, New Jersey, ensuring Reyes' finish line qualified as a family affair.

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MILWAUKEE -- Even as he banged down the Major League door last week in Memphis, a final rehab start for the ages under his belt, Alex Reyes refused to look ahead. Not until he stepped back on a big league mound, felt the dirt under his spikes and the energy in the stands, would he consider his arduous journey back from Tommy John surgery truly complete.

Now, that day has arrived. The Cardinals' No.1 prospect will make his first Major League start since September 29, 2016, Wednesday afternoon against the Brewers at Miller Park in a game airing exclusively via Facebook Live. It's a return more than 15 months in the making, and anticipation has crept past the walls of the Cardinals' clubhouse. Text messages buzzed into Reyes' phone this week from St. Louis, where Adam Wainwright is nursing an elbow injury, offering congratulations and encouragement. Further evidence then arrived via Elizabeth, New Jersey, ensuring Reyes' finish line qualified as a family affair.

View Full Game Coverage

"It feels like it's just another one," Reyes' older brother, Tomas, said. "But this might be the biggest start of his life."

Reyes' father and older brother, both named Tomas, led a four-man caravan that traveled west to witness his return. Reyes can't remember the last time his father saw him pitch in person, the instances few and far between since Reyes left home as a high schooler to chase his big league dreams.

"My father was one of those guys who pushed me the most to go to the Dominican Republic, he's always been supportive with everything," Reyes said. "I feel like I've let him down a few times throughout my career, so being able to have him come out here to see me in a big league park, it kinda feels like I'm repaying him a little bit."

With scouting opportunities limited in the northeast for the then-third baseman, who played at the school where his father worked as a security guard, Reyes moved to the Palenque region in the Dominican, where he has relatives, to garner attention as a pitcher.

"We always attended all of his games [in New Jersey]," Tomas Reyes Sr. said. "So it was hard for me when he left. I flew seven times to go see him that year. It was hard for the whole family. But we thought that was the best for him at that moment."

Reyes caught the attention of Cardinals scouts by March 2012, then signed for a $950,000 bonus in December of that year. He was in the Majors less than four years later, going 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA down the stretch.

Video: CHC@STL: Reyes whiffs Bryant to escape trouble

The last time Tomas saw his son pitch was during that dazzling 12-game debut, when Reyes beat the eventual World Series champion Cubs with 4 1/3 innings of relief on Sept. 13, 2016, at Busch Stadium. The younger Reyes may not remember. But fathers never forget.

"For me as a father, it's been a very, very long time," Tomas said. "I enjoy seeing how he performs. First I see him as Alex, my son. But I also love to see him play."

Said Alex Reyes: "I'm excited to go out there and give him something to be excited about."

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Alex Reyes

Cards' Reyes to debut Wednesday, face Crew

Young righty last pitched in Majors in 2016 before Tommy John surgery
MLB.com

Cardinals No. 1 prospect Alex Reyes, the No. 17 prospect overall, according to MLB Pipeline, will make his season debut on Wednesday against the Brewers in Milwaukee, the team announced. The 23-year-old right-hander hasn't pitched in a Major League game since Sept. 29, 2016, before undergoing Tommy John surgery following that season.

Reyes was given an extra month to rehab after St. Louis signed Greg Holland, and the delayed return to the mound could mean Reyes pitches in October should the club reach the postseason. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak said the organization does not foresee any restrictions being placed on Reyes, other than standard pitch-count and stressful inning assessments.

Cardinals No. 1 prospect Alex Reyes, the No. 17 prospect overall, according to MLB Pipeline, will make his season debut on Wednesday against the Brewers in Milwaukee, the team announced. The 23-year-old right-hander hasn't pitched in a Major League game since Sept. 29, 2016, before undergoing Tommy John surgery following that season.

Reyes was given an extra month to rehab after St. Louis signed Greg Holland, and the delayed return to the mound could mean Reyes pitches in October should the club reach the postseason. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak said the organization does not foresee any restrictions being placed on Reyes, other than standard pitch-count and stressful inning assessments.

Reyes made his MLB debut in 2016 and appeared in 12 games (five starts), posting a 1.57 ERA (eight earned runs in 46 innings). He struck out 52 of the 189 batters he faced (28 percent). In four rehab starts with Class A Peoria, Class A Advanced Palm Beach, Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis, he tossed 23 scoreless innings while fanning 44 of the 82 batters he faced.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyOnMLB.

St. Louis Cardinals, Alex Reyes