Cardinals closer Carlos Martinez, who moved into a relief role this past season because of recurring soreness and weakness in his right shoulder that he felt limited him as a starter, had a procedure last last week to address the discomfort and help encourage healing in the area.
John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, confirmed the treatment during an appearance on KMOX/1120 AM Sunday morning and also to StlToday.com.
Martinez had a "small procedure," Mozeliak told the station, and he volunteered that Martinez received a platelet-rich plasma injection. He said the procedure should allow Martinez to "move forward." He affirmed those comments when contacted by The Post-Dispatch. After a prescribed time of rest, Martinez is expected to return to his offseason plan and the procedure is not expected to limit him for spring training, an official said.
"He should have a pretty normal offseason," Mozeliak said in the radio interview.
An associate of Martinez's posted photos on social media of Martinez visiting Dr. James Andrews' facility at the end of the past week. Martinez was pictured walking down the hallway at the facility and then lying in a hospital bed.
Martinez, 28, experienced shoulder weakness during spring training, and much of his 2018 season was interrupted by injuries that he and the team traced back to his shoulder. The concern that Martinez continued to express was how he felt like his shoulder weakened as he tried to pitch deep into games — as a starter must. He did not experience the same hesitance throwing hard, throwing daily, or throwing through an inning in the shorter bursts required of a reliever.
When he returned to the majors from the injury this season, Martinez moved into the bullpen and eventually took over at closer for Jordan Hicks, who required elbow surgery midway through the year.
Martinez had 24 saves and was one of the most reliable closers in the second half of this past season. He made one appearance in the National League Championship Series and retired one of the two batters he faced. In the NL Division Series, Martinez allowed six runs in 3 1/3 innings, seized a win and took a loss against the Braves.
Martinez is signed through 2021 and the Cardinals have an option on his contract for 2022 and 2023.
The Cardinals and Martinez have both said that he will get a chance to start in 2020, and Martinez has repeatedly said his goal is to return to the starting rotation. How he feels physically and his commitment to the offseason regimen will be determine if he'll get that chance.
"When you have someone like Hicks, who ends up being injured, and having Carlos be able to fill that role is something that I think allowed for our success," Mozeliak said during his weekly appearance on KMOX, the Cardinals' flagship radio station. "In terms of what we want to see happen with Carlos this upcoming year, I think there are going to be many factors that weigh into that, and him being one of them. What he decides he thinks is best for him when you look at his career path and where he is physically."
Shortstop Paul DeJong called the NL Division Series win against Atlanta and all the zeroes in the NLCS 'something to build on for this group.' And that includes more than the youthful roster.