Prior to the I-70 Series opener against the Royals on Monday, Cardinals general manager Michael Girsch confirmed what was becoming apparent: prospect Alex Reyes' return from Tommy John surgery will come in the Major League rotation.
"We expect him to be in the rotation," Girsch said.
Reyes, ranked as the club's No. 1 prospect by MLB Pipeline, has started each of his three official rehab assignments, the fourth and final of which is scheduled for Thursday at Triple-A Memphis. The right-hander will prep as a starting pitcher in between at Busch Stadium.
Reyes is eligible to return from the disabled list on Monday, May 28, and he would be on turn to start the next day against the Brewers at Miller Park. He most recently struck out 12 over 7 2/3 innings in a dominant outing at Double-A Springfield.
Girsch said Reyes' return would likely precede the return of Carlos Martinez, meaning the Cardinals won't face a rotation logjam for at least a few weeks. But once Martinez returns, the club will face a difficult roster decision, with Reyes, Jack Flaherty and Luke Weaver in the mix for just two available spots.
Are you serious, Alex Reyes?!— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) 20 de mayo de 2018
The #STLCards No. 1 prospect (@MLB No. 17) turn in a career outing in his 1st rehab start for the @Sgf_Cardinals:
7.2 IP (career high)
13 K (ties career high)@Cardinals top prospects stats: https://t.co/Hnrj0K3fxl pic.twitter.com/vute2CrEZr
Weaver rebounded from a tough four-start stretch to hold opponents to just one earned run over his past two outings. Flaherty had one of the best outings from a Cardinals starter this season against the Phillies on Sunday, striking out 13 over 7 2/3 innings. Not everyone can stay.
"Obviously, we have new information," Girsch said. "We adjust to what we have. Knock on wood, hopefully we get a bunch of guys healthy and start having more tough roster decisions like we had at the end of Spring Training."
#STLCards’ top prospect Alex Reyes hitting 99 & 100 several times for @peoriachiefs:— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) 15 de mayo de 2018
Through two rehab starts:
No. 17 among @MLB's Top 100 prospects: https://t.co/TuTZgdnqLqpic.twitter.com/pk11gPPhyY