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Mikolas thinks he'll be ready for Cardinals' opening day — whenever that is

Mikolas thinks he'll be ready for Cardinals' opening day — whenever that is

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Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas talks to manager Mike Shildt during a spring training workout last month in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo / Jeff Roberson)

JUPITER, Fla. — Spring training on Wednesday didn’t extend any farther than the outfield grass on Field 1 here at the Cardinals’ complex. But there was baseball activity, of a sort.

There was rehabbing righthander Jordan Hicks playing catch with ... yes, manager Mike Shildt, who was trying to stay active before going on a long walk around the back fields. "He was good," said Hicks. 

Harrison Bader was throwing. Tyler O’Neill and Kolten Wong put in a session in the weight room.

Hicks, still on the road back from Tommy John elbow surgery of last year, said he would come to the complex “as long as this is open.”

But Wong said, “We don’t know how long we’ll be able come here — if they put a quarantine on us.”

And there was righthander Miles Mikolas playing catch from 90 feet with head athletic trainer Adam Olsen. Mikolas is rehabbing from a flexor tendon strain in his right forearm, which necessitated a platelet-rich plasma injection. But, sure to have missed the opening day roster before the coronavirus pandemic halted all sports, Mikolas could be on that roster now.

Mikolas, granting an interview after he was done throwing, smiled and said, “Sidewalk. Six feet. But I’m a loud talker.”

What he had to say made some sense.

“I guess I’m in a unique situation where I was on a slow-buildup throwing program anyway, so what this does is allow me not to miss any time," he said. 

“Where I am now and where I’m going ... once the season starts, I figure I’ll be able to help my team from the get-go, which is a comforting thought to me not having to watch the guys play without me.

“Mid-spring training around the league, a handful of guys are looking at this like it stinks to not be playing, but we get a chance to help our teams from the start of the season. If we’re not going until mid-May or June, I’ll be there suiting up. I’m excited for it.”

Every other day, Mikolas is playing catch, gradually extending his distance and “and able to put a little bit behind it. Then, I’m working out in between, keeping my lungs strong and keeping my legs under me.

"One step at a time until we get some word on this. Guys are doing their best to stay in shape. Once we get a spring training 2.0 schedule, we’ll be ready to go.”

Mikolas, in the first year of a four-year, $68 million contract, will have to be creative when it comes time for him to face hitters. But he does live in Jupiter and always has.  

“It depends on where we are,” he said. “If we’re here (at the complex), it may be just bullpen sessions, with guys getting looks (standing in the batter’s box). We’ve got catchers — (Andrew) Knizner, and Yadi (Molina) lives here. I’ll be happy to get them ready by them looking at some live pitches. I imagine we’ll set it up out here or in the batting cage.”

If Mikolas has to go somewhere else, he said, “It wouldn’t be hard to find guys. I’m sure I could put out a tweet or an Instagram thing and have a dozen guys at a field tomorrow. I guess it would be have to be nine guys because you’re not supposed to have more than 10 guys (in one place).

"But if you’re outside on a baseball field, you’re not really within six feet of anybody anyway.”

From a life standpoint, people everywhere are having to adjust and Mikolas knows and understands that.

But he said, “I’m constantly looking for a silver lining in any situation and there’s a couple in this situation. I’m rehabbing anyway, so this will help me get ready to help my team as soon as we can go. And there’s a little more quality time with the family.

“We’re in the pool every afternoon. The kids (he has a three-year-old and twins who are 20 months) love it. We’re just kind of hanging out. We’re getting a lot of stuff done.

“People aren’t working anymore, so you’re going to see two weeks of people not getting much social contact. And two weeks of people getting a lot of stuff done at home.

“Like walking the dog. I’ve got to figure out how to get my dog to run next to me if I’m on a skateboard or riding a bike.”

Mikolas said his dog was an Irish doodle. “She’s six months old and she’s faster than me anyway,” joked Mikolas.’’

There also is fishing to be done.

“I know the big mahi start running soon. And the sea turtles are starting to catch. The fishing is about to get real good,” Mikolas said.

“I’ve sold my boat already but I’ll be fishing in the lake behind my house." 

Answers to spring questions about Cards

• Read about retail stores in the region that are cutting hours or closing due to the coronavirus.

• Read the list of area restaurants that are closing, switching to carryout or otherwise adjusting due to the coronavirus.

• Area events canceled or postponed

• Read the list of canceled sports events.

• COVID-19 cases in Missouri by county

• COVID-19 cases in the United States

• CDC fact sheet: Prevention and treatment

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