The St. Louis Cardinals had their first official day of “summer camp” on Friday, July 3. Around this time, most players are gearing up for the All-Star game and break, but like most things this year, that wasn’t the case. Players are just now getting the opportunity to be on the field in the heat of the summer. Many of the Cardinals are described as being in “mid-March” or “early-July” shape as opposed to “the first few weeks of February”; there’s no doubt that the players put in the work over the past few months and are ready for their abbreviated season.
Along with every other MLB team, the Cardinals have been participating in regularly scheduled COVID-19 testing to ensure the health and safety of their organization. As of now, three players have tested positive for the virus. Genesis Cabrera and Ricardo Sanchez, both left-handed pitchers, and infielder Elehuris Montero were asymptomatic before testing positive. They are in isolation and will need to yield two negative tests 24 hours apart before returning.
The strict rules surrounding COVID-19 tests have posed a number of problems besides someone testing positive. Carlos Martinez got a late start to camp due to a late flight to St. Louis from the Dominican Republic and then a delay in his testing on top of that. Giovanny Gallegos is being affected by the virus in a different way than most. He has not shown up to Busch Stadium yet, as he is in Mexico awaiting clearance to travel.
The overwhelming amount of testing being done has put a halt on how much baseball is being played. But, it is clear that the health of everyone in the Cardinals organization is a top priority. Players were tested on Friday, and due to delays in the return of results, the Cardinals had to cancel Monday’s practice. The results came back in time for them to practice Tuesday night. Some of the long-awaited test results came back “undetermined”, so those players will have to be retested and are not allowed to play in the meantime.
Due to the players in isolation from positive COVID-19 tests, there are some new, unexpected faces at Busch. Left-handed pitchers Zach Thompson and Rob Kaminsky along with right-handed pitcher Seth Elledge have made an appearance at summer camp. These three are expected to head to Double-A in Springfield by the start of the season. These roster moves do showcase the Cardinals talent beyond the summer camp roster.
Brett Cecil was injured all of the 2019 season due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Unfortunately, he has shown himself to be quite prone to injuries during his time with the Cardinals. This past spring training was also cut short for him after he suffered a hamstring strain. But, Cecil has utilized these past couple months of unexpected “time off” to experiment with a new sidearm delivery. After a long absence from the game, Brett Cecil has made a great impression during the first few days of summer camp. Mike Schildt has described his pitching as efficient and is happy to see him healthy enough to compete.
Miles Mikolas has made notable progress since his right flexor tendon strain he suffered in March. On Tuesday, Mikolas faced hitters in live batting practice for the first time in his road to recovery. He is working on building up his arm strength and is determined to do so between live batting practice, intrasquad games, and the bullpen. Mikolas said he is healthy for the start of the season, which would not have been the case had the season started on time.
The Cardinals are on track to have their first intrasquad game on Thursday (7/9). This game will consist of four to five innings.
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