ST. LOUIS -- With less than a week before Opening Day, the Cardinals got clarity on four pitchers absent from Summer Camp on Saturday.
Alex Reyes and Génesis Cabrera were on the field participating in Saturday’s workout, cleared for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19 during intake testing. Ricardo Sánchez, who also previously tested positive, was also cleared and is heading to the Cardinals’ alternate training site in Springfield, Mo., to participate in workouts there. And Giovanny Gallegos, while not present at Busch Stadium on Saturday, is in St. Louis, and the team is optimistic he will be on the field Sunday.
Gallegos was able to travel from Mexico to St. Louis recently, and he went through testing to gain clearance to participate in workouts, manager Mike Shildt said. Gallegos and the Cardinals have not elaborated on why he was unable to travel until this week.
The Cardinals also placed Gallegos and Sánchez on the injured list on Saturday, although the club declined to specify a reason.
Major League Baseball has instituted a COVID-19 list this season, although clubs will not announce which players are placed on it due to privacy laws regarding individuals’ health. Players may address their status if they wish, though they are not required to do so. Merely being placed on an injured list without further explanation is not confirmation that a player has tested positive for COVID-19. For example, potential exposure to a person who has the virus can be sufficient cause. According to MLB’s 2020 Operations Manual, there is no minimum or maximum length of placement on the COVID-19 related IL.
The Cardinals are still encouraged that Gallegos can be ready for Opening Day, which is Friday against the Pirates at Busch Stadium, because of his ability to throw in Mexico. They will need to see him face hitters soon, though, to determine if he’ll be ready. Gallegos was in the closer conversation before his absence, after the right-hander posted a 2.31 ERA across 74 innings last season.
Reyes and Cabrera were quarantined in St. Louis and had no access to throwing, so a week likely isn’t enough time for them to make the Opening Day roster. They need to build up and then face hitters. They can do that from the Cardinals taxi squad or from Springfield, which is the more accommodating option because it has a roster of players there for simulated games.
“Gio was able to get out, throw, keep going a little bit,” Shildt said. “Those other guys were a little more individually limited in what they could do.”
Elehuris Montero also tested positive for COVID-19 and has been in quarantine since. He is likely headed for the Cardinals’ alternate training site in Springfield when he is cleared.
• Jake Woodford and Johan Oviedo were the only two pitchers to throw live batting practice Saturday. Each threw three innings. Bunting drills were practiced after, with Lane Thomas, Rangel Ravelo, Edmundo Sosa and Austin Dean among the hitters who were tasked with the squeeze bunt.
• Sunday’s intrasquad will be seven innings and feature Jack Flaherty and John Gant as starters. First pitch will be at 1:15 p.m. CT and streamed on cardinals.com.