ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- After losing most of 2015 to a shoulder impingement, Cardinal lefty Marco Gonzales is once again facing a season marred by injury.
The 24-year-old is dealing with an injured ligament in his throwing elbow, and is currently weighing his options going forward. Discussing the issue with his family and agent, Gonzales is reportedly trying to decide between elbow surgery and a non-surgical rehab option. The Cardinals are waiting to find out which avenue he’s leading toward, and until then, have no road map or timetable for Gonzales’ season.
“I’d hate to expound on it right now because I’m not sure directionally where he’s going to go,” GM John Mozeliak said. “Until I have that clarity, it’s hard for me to really answer.”
Gonzales figured to be the first phone call if the Cardinals needed a fill-in starter or a fresh arm in the bullpen, but is now out of the picture for the foreseeable future. Complicating matters is Tim Cooney, whose shoulder has kept him from having a normal start to the year.
After having to slow his spring throwing and undertake a flexibility and strength program in Jupiter, the lefty thought he had the issue fixed heading into the year in Memphis. Unfortunately the shoulder discomfort followed him and he has been halted once again.
“For him, it feels fine one day, then doesn't feel fine the next," Mozeliak said. “Unfortunately, that's not the healthy treadmill you want to be on.”
Cooney will undergo a more conservative rehab program than Gonzales, but the organization’s pitching depth has been eroded considerably in the wake of their injuries.
"When you look at what we have going on at Memphis, it's not as strong as we thought we were," Mozeliak said.
The GM added the reinstatement of Alex Reyes later this season keeps the panic button from being pressed, but a healthy rotation in the first half would do wonders for keeping the ulcer index at a minimum.
Jhonny Peralta is back in St. Louis with the team and had his cast removed last week. He spoke to the media while wearing a splint on his glove hand to protect his surgically repaired thumb.
“I feel pretty good. I’m doing better and more and more it’s feeling pretty good,” he said. While he got the cast off, it is not a signal he is ready to begin rehab. The cast was removed because Peralta was feeling discomfort, and he has not yet passed the threshold of certainty that the surgery took. Though he visited with a doctor and got positive reports, he is still within the window that Yadier Molina was when he ended up needing a second surgery.
In the meantime Peralta will stay in St. Louis and continue his rehab, which at this point is mostly cardio work.
Both Tommy Pham and Ruben Tejada are nearing a return to action. Mozeliak said Pham, who has not yet begun baseball activities, could go out on a rehab assignment near the end of next week.
Tejada could see game activity as soon as the end of this week, though the team hasn’t decided whether that will be in the minors or at extended spring training.