Injury news: Hicks, Yadi, Mikolas, and more

May 4th, 2021

The Cardinals are awaiting the results from MRIs on ’ right elbow and forearm, which, positive or negative, will dictate how they approach the remainder of the Mets series from a pitching perspective.

But prior to Monday’s series-opening 6-5 win against New York at Busch Stadium, the club shifted pitching plans and tapped Johan Oviedo, who is currently in the Minors, as Tuesday’s starter opposite Jacob deGrom. Doing so, however, would require an IL move, as Oviedo is under the required 10-day minimum stay in the Minors since being optioned back on April 29.

“Two and two usually equals four,” manager Mike Shildt said following Monday’s win, when asked about the potential player that could land on the IL and allow such a move.

Hicks, who exited Saturday’s 12-5 win over the Pirates with inflammation in his right elbow, is in the midst of a return to the Majors 22 months in the making, following Tommy John surgery in June 2019 and then opting out of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season as a high-risk individual (Type 1 diabetes).

The club has said that the type of inflammation Hicks is experiencing is common for a player returning from an invasive surgery like Tommy John, and though the Cards were not “overly concerned” with the initial prognosis, they will exercise caution with their prized 24-year-old flamethrower.

“We're going to allow the doctors to weigh in,” said president of baseball operations John Mozeliak.

The club hoped to have a firmer update postgame Monday, but unclear results from the MRIs have pushed that announcement back to Tuesday for now.

“I want to be able to understand it better before I communicate it publicly,” Shildt said.

Other injury updates

Yadier Molina, C (right foot tendon strain)
On IL since:
April 27
Molina will be evaluated as the week progresses, still yet to resume baseball activities after he exited an April 23 start and then landed on the IL following one more attempt to play through the ailment. Molina posted an image of himself in a walking boot last week but is said to be improving by the day.

Miles Mikolas, RHP (right shoulder discomfort)
On IL since:
Opening Day
Mikolas’ long road to return is nearing an end, and he is set for a rehab start with Triple-A Memphis on Wednesday. Mozeliak forecasted that he will need three to four starts there. Mikolas hasn’t appeared in a game since the 2019 NLCS (surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his right forearm last July, shoulder discomfort in Spring Training) and is currently taking the biggest steps in his rehab thus far.

Daniel Ponce de Leon, RHP (right shoulder inflammation)
On IL since:
April 30
The most encouraging news of the day was for Ponce de Leon, who is set to receive an injection to reduce the inflammation in his right shoulder. The good news is that Mozeliak said there are no structural concerns, and now it’s just a wait-and-see to allow the ailment to subside.

John Nogowski, 1B (left hand bone bruise)
On IL since:
April 23
Nogowksi is at Busch Stadium this week, working out with the team before a rehab assignment with Memphis on Thursday or Friday to wrap up his rehab, which dates all the way back to an April 7 hit-by-pitch that he proceeded to play through. His return will be welcome with the current dearth of right-handed bench bats on the active roster.

Andrew Miller, LHP (right foot toe blister)
On IL since:
April 30
Miller has yet to receive the green light to resume baseball activities, with the ailment impacting his landing foot on the mound.

Dakota Hudson, RHP (Tommy John surgery)
On IL since:
Opening Day
Furthest out from a return, Hudson is said to be progressing well from his September 2020 Tommy John surgery, in the early part of his throwing program and “in a good spot mentally,” Mozeliak said. Hudson has stated his desire to return by September, but the club will wait until the later stages of the summer before committing to any semblance of a firm timeline.

… and a roster move
To make room for Adam Wainwright off the COVID-19 IL for Monday’s start, the Cardinals optioned outfielder Austin Dean to Triple-A Memphis. Dean was used in a spot-start and pinch-hitting role, batting .185 (5-for-27) with a homer and two doubles in 18 appearances. His defense was not the strongest on the team, but the loss of the pop in his right-handed bat sets the stage for an imminent Nogowski return.