Notes: Kim is 'full-go'; Cards honor Jackie

April 17th, 2021

Cardinals left-hander will his make his highly anticipated 2021 debut with his start against the Phillies on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. To make room for Kim, St. Louis optioned right-hander Kodi Whitley to the alternate training site.

The club has been careful with Kim since he experienced back tightness last month.

“He’s a full-go, otherwise we would not have put him in the rotation,” manager Mike Shildt said. “He threw a really good bullpen [Thursday] and there are a lot of positive things coming out with KK. He’s ready to rock and roll, and we are excited to see him pitch tomorrow.”

The Cardinals signed Kim prior to the 2020 season to a two-year, $8 million deal after he spent a dozen seasons pitching for SK Wyverns in Korea. He started last season as the closer and made himself an important part of the rotation after sporting a 1.62 ERA in eight games (seven starts).

One thing he hasn’t done is hit. Kim has only three career plate appearances as a professional, the last of which came in 2010 in Korea.

“I’m not really a good hitter right now,” Kim said through his interpreter. “But when I hit it, it goes to the outfield. I feel good with it. My teammates actually clap.”

Robinson resonates

Every Cardinals player suited up in No. 42 jerseys in honor of Jackie Robinson Day, which is being celebrated across baseball April 15-16.

The club did not have a game on Thursday, the day most teams wore No. 42 as a tribute to Robinson.

“I appreciate the solidarity and I think it's a tribute to not only Jackie Robinson, but also the progression that we seek and the equality of not only our game, but also in our society,” Shildt said. “First of all, it honors a man of extreme courage, and of course, a man of exemplary talent. I just respect and appreciate what Jackie Robinson meant to the game and I can’t imagine what he had to endure. But he opened the door for all the well-deserved minority players to start to play and rightfully so in the big leagues.”

Shildt and his players watched a 30-minute presentation created by The Players Alliance, a nonprofit organization founded by a group of active and former MLB players with the goal of improving representations of Black Americans in baseball. The Players Alliance will make a financial commitment to the Jackie Robinson Foundation supporting the launch of a scholarship fund aiming to provide aid to students as soon as the fall 2021 semester.

More than 230 big league players supported The Players Alliance by donating their full game-day salary, including Jack Flaherty.

“We have a very charitable clubhouse,” Shildt said. “There are people who have their own charities and are giving. I’m sure it was supported, but I can’t say specifically by who.”

Quick hits

• The Cardinals’ taxi squad is made up of right-handed pitchers Seth Elledge, Angel Rondon and Jake Woodford, catcher Ali Sanchez, and infielder José Rondón.

• Miles Mikolas, who has been slowed by shoulder soreness, threw what Shildt described as “an aggressive bullpen” and recovered favorably.

“He’s in a good place and he’s creeping toward live BP,” Shildt said. “He’s starting to throw uninhibited with some good velocity and command and using all of his pitches.”

• Harrison Bader, who has been dealing with a sore right forearm that dates to March, is 10-14 days from resuming full baseball activity, the manager said. Bader his hitting off the tee and tracking pitches. He is also throwing up to 220 feet and beyond.

• Tommy Edman hit a first-pitch single in the top of the first inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. He later made a nice catch at the wall to rob Bryce Harper of a hit in the bottom of the frame.