For the second time this month, the Cardinals have called up a pitcher from Triple-A to make a start against the Twins.
Last week, righthander John Gant was summoned from Memphis to start Monday’s game, and he allowed four runs over 5 1/3 innings in the Twins’ 6-1 victory at Busch Stadium. Tonight, 22-year-old Jack Flaherty, one of St. Louis’ most prized prospects, rejoins the Cardinals for the third time this season to make the start in Target Field.
The disappointing part for St. Louis is that Flaherty is here because Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals’ three-time All-Star, experienced inflammation in his pitching elbow again on Sunday. He missed a couple of weeks in April with the problem, returned to action in San Diego over the weekend, but lasted just 2 1/3 innings until the trouble returned. Wainwright went back on the disabled list today.
“The slider is his best pitch. He throws hard enough, but his fastball is low 90s with sink,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said after examining video of Flaherty’s outings against the Brewers and Pirates. “He can chase that slider away that looks pretty enticing to righties, as well as back-footing the lefties. … It’s going to be [about] keeping that slider in the zone. That will be a big test.”
Miguel Sano had another test this afternoon, as he continues to try to recover from his strained left hamstring. Sano ran the bases and took batting practice, with Molitor watching, but there was no noticeable change in his condition.
“More of the same today. [We’re] still, from my vantage point, not seeing max effort, which we’re going to need to see” in his running, Molitor said. “He’s swinging the bat fine. It’s just going to be making sure he can do everything he needs to on a baseball field and play a position defensively.”
I saw a half-dozen fans wearing Cardinals gear walking toward Target Field as I arrived today, and there are plenty more Missourians and Illinoisans expected to be in the house tonight and tomorrow. Here are the lineups for the first of a brief two-game series: