Day One Spring Training ~ Cardinals Prospect Pitcher, Alex Reyes, Underwent MRI On Right Elbow

By Beth Chapman
Feb. 15, 2017

The season's Spring Training officially opened yesterday with pitchers and catchers reporting.  A lot of reports (speculation) surfaced yesterday from the St. Louis Cardinals camp in regard to their prospect pitcher Alex Reyes

Prospect Alex Reyes was slated to pitch in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Young 22 year old prospect, Alex Reyes, potentially could miss the entire 2017 season? Right throwing elbow issue and a MRI was performed yesterday, so it must be so? 

The most recent of reports (7 hours ago) comes from Jenifer Langosch, MLB.com, who is one of the exclusive reporters for the Cardinals. And, she mentions something I vaguely recall from last season, Reyes has dealt with right throwing arm issues (elbow) since 2013. Practicing last week, unlike former Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia, Reyes had reported in to the Cardinals of discomfort in his throwing arm. Evidently, before he gets to yet another baseball season, it is still an issue. 

Yesterday, Reyes did not participate in his bullpen session. He left the Roger Dean complex twice for testing, of which a MRI was one. That specific test immediately sends up a red flag. Must be major to have the procedure performed. In the case of Reyes; or, any player in my opinion, the degree of damage has to be confirmed before taking any steps forward. However, I'm sure the organization is preparing for the worst of scenario's. I feel, simply due to the 'years' of a throwing elbow issue. Tommy Johns surgery. Whatever the news, it will be announced today by Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak.

I'm hoping, if in fact a torn ligament is involved, Reyes does seek a second opinion as is a normal step to make a solid medical decision. The possibility of foregoing TJ surgery with the alternative procedure, "Primary Repair" surgery for a torn UCL,  (Seth Maness surgery) may just be possible. However, the Primary Repair is a decision made once the surgeon examines the tear during surgery. The major difference between the two procedures, recovery time. With the Primary Surgery, if possible, Reyes conceivably would be back on the hill within seven months at the most. A late season return would be obtainable. With Tommy Johns, yes, his next season on the hill would be 2018. With the alternative procedure, "It is a repair and buttressing of the existing ligament at the bone, not Tommy John’s reconstruction of the ligament."  (FA Reliever Seth Maness ~ The First MLB Player To Undergo Alternative Elbow Surgery, January 15)

Reyes made his debut with the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on August 9 against the Cincinnati Reds, out of the bullpen. He made his first start, August 27, against the Oakland A's. For the month of August, he closed with a 0.64 ERA only giving up seven hits and one earned run. He closed his 2016 rookie season with 4-1/1.57 ERA and one save to his credits. In his total 46 IP, he only allowed one home run and eight earned runs on 33 hits, while issuing 52 strikeouts, holding a 1.22 WHIP. He was to be a very solid piece for the Cardinals rotation in 2017. 

Recent news of yesterday lends more towards, Reyes' near future will not be spent on the mound. However, I feel, even with this disappointing news, he is not the sole success factor for the Cardinals upcoming season. A great addition, yes. In my opinion, the entire season does not ride on the shoulders of prospect Alex Reyes. Therefore, those that are at Spring training, Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons, Luke Weaver, Marco Gonzales and other minor league invitees will have the chance to via for the rotation. Cardinals fans will disagree, I'm sure. But, in my mind, any - or all - have a chance to shine. One has no idea just "who" the diamond in the rough may be.