Cards' Hicks to work through struggles at MLB level

Righty will be used in low-leverage situations to try to regain form

April 16th, 2023

ST. LOUIS -- Following a lengthy pregame meeting between Jordan Hicks and Cardinals management on Sunday, manager Oliver Marmol said the struggling reliever will be used primarily in low-leverage situations in hopes of helping him regain his past form. Hicks potentially going on a Minor League assignment to work through his early-season struggles is not an option, Marmol said. In Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Pirates in 10 innings, Hicks shied away from throwing his 100-plus-mph sinker because of wildness and instead relied on a slider that he threw seven pitches in a row.

Any roster move where the right-hander would have been sent to the Minor Leagues would have had to be approved by Hicks, who has five years of MLB service time. After surrendering three runs (two earned), three hits and a two-run home run in the 10th inning to Andrew McCutchen on Saturday, Hicks’ ERA is at 12.71 over 5 2/3 innings and seven games this season. He has allowed nine runs (eight earned), 11 hits and eight walks, while striking out six.

“We need to figure out a way for him to be more effective and usable,” said Marmol, who was forced to pitch Hicks in Saturday’s 10th inning of a tied game because four relievers were unavailable due to their previous workload. “We’ve got to have a good enough plan to do that, where he’s comfortable with it and we feel good about it. Getting him into low-leverage situations [is one option]. [On Saturday], he was forced into a high-leverage situation and there was no way around that one. Figuring out a way to get him right is key.

“This isn’t a developmental league,” Marmol added, referring to the difficulty of being unable to use one of his eight relievers in close games. “You can’t script it the way you can in a Minor League setting. But we’re also well aware of where we’re at with Jordan and our ability to do that [without a potential Minor League stint]. We have to figure out a way to get him right in a real setting, which is not the easiest thing to do, but that’s the task at hand.”

Hicks did not speak to the media following Saturday’s game and he wasn’t available before Sunday’s game.