Cardinals pitcher Mikolas out for season with forearm surgery

Cardinals pitcher Mikolas out for season with forearm surgery
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Miles Mikolas (39) delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton) (Matt Marton) (Source: AP Photo/Matt Marton)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas will have season-ending surgery to repair a tendon in his strained right forearm, creating an opening in the rotation.

The Cardinals placed Mikolas on the 10-day injured list before their game Tuesday at Minnesota. Mikolas was supposed to start on Wednesday. President of baseball operations John Mozeliak said right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon will take the mound against the Twins instead.

The 31-year-old Mikolas pitched four innings for the Cardinals in an exhibition game last week. He missed spring training with the injury, but after nearly four more months to rest during the virus shutdown, he ramped up his activity when camp reconvened.

Mikolas wasn’t feeling right after his most recent bullpen, Mozeliak said, and an MRI on Monday prompted the need for a procedure. The estimated rehabilitation time is four months. The elbow ligament was deemed fully intact, but pitching through the injury this summer would have put him at risk for more damage.

Mikolas was 27-18 with a 3.46 ERA over 64 starts for the Cardinals over the last two seasons. He tied for the National League lead with 18 wins in 2018. Now the rotation — which also includes Adam Wainwright, Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson and Carlos Martínez — has a hole. Closer Kwang-Hyun Kim was considered previously as a starter, but the Cardinals decided to keep him in the bullpen.

The 28-year-old Ponce de Leon, who has a 3.29 ERA in 82 major league innings, will get the first crack at filling the spot.

“He’s more than earned the opportunity,” manager Mike Shildt said.

Two right-handed relievers were added to the active roster on Tuesday. Giovanny Gallegos was activated from the injured list, and Jake Woodford was recalled from the team’s alternate training site.

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