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Cardinals' Goldschmidt, Mikolas benefit from long time off

Cardinals' Goldschmidt, Mikolas benefit from long time off

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Cardinals open "Summer Camp"

The Cardinals' Paul Goldschmidt is in the batter's box on the first day of "Summer Camp" at Busch Stadium on Friday, July 3, 2020. (Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com)

If the baseball season would have started as scheduled on March 26, Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt could have played but would have been compromised in his throwing ability because of a sore right elbow, which also might have affected his swing a bit. On July 24, he should have no such issue.

After taking some swings against Jack Flaherty and Austin Gomber on Friday in the Cardinals’ first official summer workout, Goldschmidt said the nearly three months off from competition had enabled him “to give (his elbow) some rest and get some treatment on it for a while. It’s 100 percent now. I’m not sure it would have been if (the season had started on time), so that’s one positive, personally.”

Righthander Miles Mikolas, who had to back off almost from the start of spring training because of a flexor tendon strain that required a second platelet-rich plasma injection, would not have able to pitch at all on March 26. He fully expects to be in the Cardinals’ rotation starting on July 24, when their coronavirus-delayed season is set to open.

“I’m getting ready to get guys in the (batters’) box,” said Mikolas, who will oppose hitters either Monday or Tuesday for 40 pitches — the equivalent of two innings. “We know we’ll have a couple of those before we start the intrasquad games more toward the end of (summer) training.

“But I feel good where I am right now,” Mikolas said. “I’ll be ready to get going once the season starts. I’m spinning the ball well in the bullpen. That last tick, that little bit that comes from here, I’m excited to have come back when I get some of these goofballs in the box.”

Goldschmidt has a couple of small children but said he is confident in the protocols for playing that has been set forth by Major League Baseball, the players’ association and the Cardinals.

He did not consider opting out of playing this year.

“I want to play baseball,” he said. “I’m going to take every precaution. But there’s going to be risks whether you’re playing baseball or not playing baseball. I just want to play.”

Mikolas has three young children and he and his wife have chosen to have the balance of the family remain in Jupiter, Fla., for the “time being.”

He, too, chose not to opt out and, in fact, thinks he can do more than just pitch during this three-week summer exercise.

“My major in college (Nova Southeastern University) was sports and recreation management, so if they need someone to help run this camp, I have a degree and I’m qualified,” Mikolas joked.

While the Cardinals would have been shorthanded if the season had started in March, they will have all of Goldschmidt, presumably all of Mikolas, much of Jordan Hicks and all of lefthander Gomber.

Gomber, who was a key performer, especially in August 2019 when the Cardinals won the National League Central Division title, was unbeaten in four decisions at Class AAA Memphis last year before he missed most of the rest of the season because of biceps tendinitis. But he seemed to feel nothing untoward as he worked the equivalent of two innings as he faced Cardinals hitters Friday.

There is no assigned slot for Gomber, but his ability to either start or relieve could put him in good stead to be one of the 16 or 17 pitchers on the 30-man roster with which the Cardinals will break this camp.

Manager Mike Shildt was pleased with the work of Flaherty, Gomber and Ryan Helsley.

Pitching coach Mike Maddux told Shildt that Flaherty was pitching in July, mid-season form, if, of course, July had been the middle of a season, rather than the beginning.

Shildt said, “I told Jack . . . in the middle of the clubhouse, appropriately distanced, with a mask . . . that I thought he looked great. It will bring a smile to my face tonight when I reflect on the day I got a chance to watch him compete again.”

Flaherty is tabbed to face the Pittsburgh Pirates in the season opener on July 24. Before that, the Cardinals will have 18 more days of work, said Shildt, with an off day slotted for July 13 and an optional workout on July 23.

Three weeks of training might not seem like a lot but Shildt said, “It’s the time we have. And we’ll make it the appropriate time.”


BASEBALL BACK AT BUSCH 

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