Miles Mikolas makes AAA rehab debut

Even with Jordan Hicks on the injured list, the St. Louis Cardinals continue to follow the right path. Harrison Bader is back in the outfield. Kwang Hyun Kim missed a minimum of time due to a back injury. This has led to a 9-2 streak in their last 11 games – and they could pick up another important piece soon.

Miles Mikolas, who injured his shoulder in spring training, starts Wednesday for Triple-A Memphis against Tampa Bay Rays affiliate.

It’s another step in the right direction for Mikolas, whose return would mark the Cardinals’ return to the fifth and final member of their rotation. It’s likely the team will be cautious in bringing Mikolas back to the major league roster, however, given that bringing him up too quickly this spring is what led to his shoulder issue.

But when he does return, Mikolas will help provide another reliable option out of the rotation. He might not be the same pitcher who won 18 games in 2018, but the Cardinals can reasonably expect an ERA hovering around 3.00-4.00. He will need to reduce the number of circuits allowed, as he retired from 27 circuits in his last full season in 2019.

Getting that kind of production Mikolas, 32, should still help a paddock that has been tested to start the season. With Hicks in the long run, the starting pitchers – and the rest of the bullpen – increased the pressure to effectively eat innings. Alex Reyes shows up for the test as he is one of two pitchers to pitch at least 14 innings to not allow a run this season.

The rest of the enclosure will have to increase, but Mikolas’ return would relieve the unit. His first departure to rehab is the strongest sign to date that his return is imminent, barring another setback.

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