Cards place Gallegos (groin strain) on IL

September 12th, 2020

ST. LOUIS -- After exiting Thursday night’s game with a trainer, was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right groin strain, the Cardinals announced before Friday’s series opener against the Reds.

In a corresponding move, right-hander Nabil Crismatt was recalled from the alternate training site.

Gallegos took the loss in Game 2 of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Tigers when he walked the leadoff batter and allowed two singles to cut the Tigers’ deficit to one. Detroit later took the lead, and Gallegos was charged with three runs. St. Louis manager Mike Shildt said Friday that Gallegos felt the injury during Victor Reyes’ at-bat, the second of three batters Gallegos faced.

When Shildt and a trainer went out to talk with Gallegos, the pitcher left the mound fairly quickly. Shildt said after the game that Gallegos “clearly couldn’t compete” and was going to have an MRI to determine the severity.

On Friday, Shildt hesitated to put a timeline on Gallegos’ return.

“It’s going to be every bit of 10 days, and some of those things can take up to two weeks,” Shildt said. “People heal in different phases. Things can get better and things can go the other way as well.”

Gallegos had been serving as the Cardinals' closer the past few weeks, as the bullpen has been used in more traditional roles. He has four saves in 13 appearances this season, with a 3.97 ERA, 14 strikeouts and three walks in 11 1/3 innings.

Gallegos' injury has opened the competition again. Shildt named several of his high-leverage relievers, including lefties Andrew Miller and Génesis Cabrera and righties Alex Reyes and Ryan Hesley, as options to close games.

Reyes, who has a 2.70 ERA in 10 games (13 1/3 innings) could also stay in his current multi-inning role. On Thursday, he pitched two scoreless innings, getting starter Austin Gomber out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam with the Cardinals holding a one-run lead.

“I think it’s going to be a flexibility of availability situation,” Shildt said. “It’ll be more matchup related, based on who’s available to pitch that day based on how they feel.”

Kim, Oviedo and rotation plans
Lefty starter Kwang Hyun Kim has made encouraging progress in the past few days and could return to the rotation as early as Monday against the Brewers in one of the doubleheader games, Shildt said. The Cardinals don’t have intentions of putting Kim in the bullpen upon his return after a kidney ailment hospitalized him for a day in Chicago last weekend and put him on the 10-day injured list.

The clearance Kim and the Cardinals seek is medical related, not baseball, because he’s taking a blood thinner that requires avoiding contact that might bruise or cut him.

“He’s going to come back as a starter,” Shildt said. “He had a really good day [Thursday] and another positive day [Friday]. We need him to start, but just because we need him to, we’re not going to cram him into something that he couldn’t physically do. But he’s ready. We feel like he can get going.”

Carlos Martínez will start Sunday’s series finale against the Reds, and Daniel Ponce de Leon will start one game of Monday’s doubleheader in Milwaukee.

Johan Oviedo continues to test negative for COVID-19. The rookie starter was placed on the injured list Thursday when he came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Oviedo has tested negative and is asymptomatic, but he is in quarantine and removed from the team so there is no risk of him potentially spreading the virus in the St. Louis clubhouse. There’s not a known date of when he could return to the club, but the Cardinals hope it can be sometime next week during their stretch of three doubleheaders in five days.

“The thing is really the trickiness of this whole deal,” Shildt said. “We’re literally in a holding pattern to get him to a certain day of consistent negative testing. We had a situation with our second breakout, it was a week later. The chances of that are very remote, but clearly possible.”

The Cardinals are trying to organize a way for Oviedo to throw a bullpen session as socially distanced as possible, throwing a ball only once to a catcher and with limited people present, like there was for the individual workouts at Busch Stadium for the team coming out of their outbreak in August.

“We’ll keep him moving around,” Shildt said. “We’ve got a tentative plan for him, but it’s really just going to be required on him testing negative.”

Worth noting
• Infielder Rangel Ravelo and outfielder Austin Dean, now both back with the team and taking advantage of opportunities off the bench and doubleheader starts, both dealt with symptoms when they had COVID-19, experiencing fevers and headaches. Dean’s wife, who is in St. Louis with him, also contracted the virus eight days after he tested positive.

“It was really hard to manage my wife taking care of me and then vice versa whenever she got it, and then having to take care of our dogs, two very large dogs,” Dean said. “It was just very unfortunate. We followed every protocol that MLB told us to do. Just glad that both of us are safe and healthy now.

“The rehab process was good. Went down to Springfield, [Mo.], kind of took a little bit to catch my breath, but I feel 100 percent now. Glad to be back and help in any way possible right now.”

• Right-hander Ryan Meisinger cleared waivers and was outrighted to the Cardinals’ alternate training site in Springfield.