Alex Reyes (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

A recap of St. Louis Cardinals-related news from the period of February 13-19, 2017

Last week’s St. Louis Cardinals news includes a season-ending injury, a rare arbitration hearing, a suspension and more – all in the first week of spring training camp.

Reyes has Tommy John surgery

Very bad news found the St. Louis Cardinals and fans this past week, as pitcher Alex Reyes suffered a complete rupture of his right UCL just days before the start of Spring Training.  An MRI taken on Tuesday revealed the injury, and Reyes underwent Tommy John surgery two days later.  The surgery was performed by team physician Dr. George Paletta and was a success.

Reyes notified the team of elbow discomfort after throwing an off-speed pitch during a bullpen session.  An MRI was taken and Reyes was notified of the torn UCL the following day.  The MRI images were sent to Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion.

Reyes will of course miss the entirety of the 2017 season as a result of the injury.  Rehab is estimated to take between 12 and 18 months.   The 22 year old pitcher was expected to break camp with Cardinals as part of the starting rotation.  The injury leaves the Cardinals with a starter opening, which any one of several pitchers currently in camp could be called upon the fill.  Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, and several others will be competing for that spot.  Former closer Trevor Rosenthal is also being considered for a move to the rotation.

Reyes was scheduled to compete in the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic, an honor that is now wiped out for him. 

Reyes made his major league debut last August, and filled the role of both starter and reliever. The right hander appeared in 12 games for the Cardinals last season and posted a 1.57 ERA with 52 strikeouts in 46 innings pitched. Those 12 games included five starts and a permanent move to the rotation in September.

Reyes was named the No. 3 pitching prospect in MLB and the No. 14 prospect overall recently by MLB Pipeline.

For more details.


Wacha loses arbitration hearing

The arbitration hearing for Michael Wacha was held last Monday in Arizona, and the Cardinals emerged victorious.  The hearing was the first arbitration hearing for the team since 1999, when they went to hearing with Darren Oliver and also prevailed in that proceeding.

Wacha had asked for $3.2 million in his mid-January filing, while the Cardinals submitted a figure of $2.775 million.  The arbitration panel settled on the latter number, which will be Wacha’s salary for the 2017 season.  This is Wacha’s first of three potential years as an arbitration-eligible player.

Wacha was present and was represented by his agent.  The Cardinals were represented by outside counsel.

Wacha finished the 2016 season with a record of 7-7 and an ERA of 5.09.  The right-hander has been struggling with a chronic injury to his shoulder since suffering a scapular stress reaction in 2014.

For more: Cardinals Arbitration History: 1974-2017 (member article)


Littrell suspended for positive drug test

Minor league pitcher Corey Littrell was slapped with a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball, for a second positive test for a drug of abuse.  The suspension was announced this past week, and truncates what would have been Littrell’s second invitation to major league camp.

The exact substance for which Littrell was positive was not disclosed.  The left-hander issued a public apology and took responsibility for his actions.  The suspension is set to begin April 6, when the Cardinals’ Triple -A club is set to begin its season.  Littrell spent most of 2016 with Triple-A Memphis after his promotion from Double-A Springfield and conversion from starting to relief. Following the season, he pitched in the Arizona Fall League.

The Cardinals have instructed him not to report to the Cardinals Spring Training complex until after minor league Spring Training has ended.  Littrell will be allowed to participate in Extended Spring Training, and will be eligible to return to play on May 28.

For more details.


Molina contract talks open

The agent for Yadier Molina, Melvin Roman, indicated he has opened preliminary talks with the Cardinals regarding the catcher's next contract. The 34-year-old is in the final year of a five-year, $75 million deal that includes a mutual option for 2018. Molina has expressed a willingness to complete his career as a Cardinal, but the club also has top catching prospect Carson Kelly almost ready for the majors.

Because of these factors, a quick resolution seems unlikely.


Trade and Acquisition Rumors

There are no trade or acquisition rumors to report.



The minor league contract of right-handed pitcher Kendry Flores has been voided after the former Miami Marlin failed his pre-camp physical exam due to a shoulder ailment. He was in MLB camp as a non-roster invitee.

The following non-roster right-handed pitchers have been added to major league spring training: Corey Baker, Junior Fernandez and Jake Woodford.


Injury Report

LHP Tyler Lyons (right knee) is continuing to rehab from knee surgery.  Lyons has progressed to throwing off the mound and there is optimism that he will be ready to contribute sooner than expected - perhaps in April.

RHP Alex Reyes suffered a complete rupture of his right UCL just prior to the start of Spring Training.  The right handed uber-prospect had Tommy John surgery this past Thursday, and will miss the entire 2017 season.

LHP Kevin Siegrist has been temporarily sidelined with left shoulder tightness.  The pitcher was prescribed a few days of rest, and is expected to throw his first bullpen session soon.


Looking Ahead

Major League Spring Training has begun, with all players having reported and full workouts having started.  The first game will be on Saturday, February 25, against the Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium.

The full Spring Training schedule can be found here.  The updated spring game broadcasting schedule can be found here, at the TCN blog.

Several Cardinals players will be participating in the World Baseball Classic, which begins on March 6.  The players are Seung-hwan Oh (Korea) Carlos Martinez (Dominican Republic), Matt Carpenter and Brett Cecil (USA), and Yadier Molina (Puerto Rico).  Alex Reyes was schedule to participate for the Dominican Republic, but Tommy John surgery has sidelined Reyes for the entire season.  All players will miss some or most of Spring Training to take part in the Classic.  In addition to the major league players, five minor league players will also participate.  Those players are Alberto Rosario (DR), Corey Baker and Ryan Sheriff (Israel), Trey Nielsen (Italy), and Rowan Wick (Canada).  Information about the tournament, including the schedule and pools, can be found at .

Opening Day is scheduled for Sunday, April 2.  The Cardinals play the Cubs at 7:30 pm on Sunday night, a game that will be televised on ESPN.  The Cardinals’ regular season schedule can be found here.

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