Cardinal fans won’t have to wait long to see Jordan Hicks in a real major league setting, after all.
Multiple reports Tuesday state Hicks will be with the Cardinals when the season opens in New York on Thursday afternoon. He'll pitch out of the bullpen and be in line for possible late-inning chances. St. Louis had sent Hicks to minor league camp before recalling him last week. The team was impressed with his performance in a start against the Nationals Sunday in which Hicks went four innings and gave up just one hit, and no runs, while striking out two.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, John Brebbia is the odd man out of the 25-man roster following the last-minute decision to promote Hicks. Brebbia struggled in 9.2 spring training innings, with an ERA of 5.59. He did, though, flash the kind of strikeout potential the Cardinals are likely hoping to receive from Hicks, as Brebbia K’d 16 batters this spring.
Going back to the Winter Warm-Up, John Mozeliak has not shied away from pumping up the team’s belief in Hicks as a late-inning reliever. Though the team began the offseason expressing the desire to add a proven closer, their actions in navigating free agency and the trade market indicated a strong desire to instead lean on young arms already in the system.
While Dominic Leone and Tyler Lyons were expected to have the first crack at late-inning opportunities for the Cardinals out of spring training, Hicks was a name the team’s brass was counting on to enter that mix sooner or later.
They picked sooner.