The St. Louis Cardinals were dealt a major blow to the back end of their bullpen Wednesday with news that closer Trevor Rosenthal will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right elbow. The announcement was first reported by St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Ben Frederickson on Twitter.
Trevor Rosenthal needs Tommy John, Girsch confirms #STLcards
Trevor Rosenthal Injured
Rosenthal was officially transferred from the 10-day to 60-day Disabled List, signaling the end of his 2017 campaign. The right-handed flamethrower is also expected to miss a large portion of 2018, if not the whole season entirely, as he recovers from the procedure.
The injury leaves a sizable hole in the bullpen for a Cardinals team still very much in the thick of the NL postseason race. Finding themselves four and a half games behind the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs and four games back of the NL’s second Wild Card entering play Thursday. The Cardinals are left with Seung-hwan Oh, Tyler Lyons, and Brett Cecil as the most likely candidates to work the ninth moving forward. Oh would be the natural fit given his experience closing in the past. It was only recently that manager Mike Matheny removed him from the closer role in favor of Rosenthal.
Once among the most dominant closers in the game, Rosenthal was the Cardinals unquestioned ninth-inning man in 2014 and 2015, but lost the job in the middle of 2016 to Oh after a disappointing first half. Following a string of shaky outings for Oh early in 2017, Matheny gave the reigns back to Rosenthal who proceeded to nail down 11 saves in 13 opportunities. In total, Rosenthal has saved 118 games over the past four seasons for the Cardinals.
Given the uncertainty of making a full recovery after Tommy John, it is possible the 27-year-old hurler may have thrown his last pitch in a Cardinals uniform. Rosenthal is arbitration eligible this off-season and thus will still be under team control, but it remains to be seen whether the Cardinals will have an interest in keeping him around through the lengthy rehab process. Rosenthal will be an Unrestricted free agent the following Winter.
In a pair of corresponding moves, the Cardinals purchased the contract of LHP Ryan Sherriff from Triple-A Memphis to take Rosenthal’s place on the 40-man roster. Sherriff was also promoted to the big league club’s 25-man active roster, while RHP Josh Lucas was optioned to Memphis.
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