Gray's Cardinals debut delayed, set to pitch in sim game

April 3rd, 2024

SAN DIEGO -- ’s much-anticipated debut with the Cardinals has been pushed back again, meaning it almost certainly won’t be at Busch Stadium in the coming homestand.

Gray, who signed a three-year, $75 million deal in November, hasn’t pitched in a game since straining his right hamstring in a Spring Training outing on March 4. Gray, 34, was signed to be the ace of the staff and he impressed the club with his vocal leadership and attention to detail during Spring Training before suffering the leg injury.

Originally scheduled to start a Triple-A game for the Memphis Redbirds in Indianapolis, Ind., on Wednesday, Gray will instead pitch in a simulated game with the club’s Double-A affiliate that day in Springfield, Mo., manager Oliver Marmol said on Tuesday. Gray is scheduled to throw approximately 50 pitches. The Cardinals continue to insist that Gray has not suffered a setback with a hamstring injury that they deemed to be “mild” in early March following an MRI.

“[Moving Gray’s start from Indianapolis to Springfield] is just weather related and it makes more sense,” Marmol said. “Then, you‘re looking at Memphis for right around 70 [pitches].”

After attending Opening Day ceremonies at Busch Stadium on Thursday, Gray will make his next start on Tuesday (April 9) in Memphis when the Triple-A Redbirds host Nashville. He is scheduled to throw 70-75 pitches in that outing.

That means the earliest Gray could start for the Cardinals would be an April 14 road game in Arizona. The likely landing spot for Gray’s season debut could come a day later when St. Louis opens a three-game series in Oakland against the Athletics. Gray, a first-round pick by the A’s in 2011 out of Vanderbilt University, pitched for Oakland from 2013-17, going 44-36 in 114 games (112 starts).

Gray was the American League Cy Young runner-up while pitching for the Twins in 2023. The Cardinals inked veteran pitchers Lance Lynn, Kyle Gibson and Gray in November to address pitching woes that led to 2023’s last-place finish in the NL Central.