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Cardinals’ Matz leaves with shoulder stiffness after four pitches Sunday

Matz is in the first year of a four-year, $44 million contract that he signed with the Cardinals during the off-season.
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Steven Matz throws during the first inning of a baseball...
St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Steven Matz throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday, April 16, 2022, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)(Morry Gash | AP)
Published: May. 22, 2022 at 12:01 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The Cardinals demoted rookie left-handed pitcher Matthew Liberatore following his MLB debut on Saturday in Pittsburgh. After what happened to fellow lefty starter Steven Matz in the first inning of Sunday morning’s start, however, the team may need Liberatore to fill in for the rotation on a more permanent basis.

Matz threw just four pitches Sunday before leaving the game with what the team described as left shoulder stiffness. Though the severity of Matz’s condition is not yet known, it’s a concern for a veteran pitcher who has dealt with both shoulder and elbow issues previously in his career.

“He came out of just warming up, he got into the dugout and he said it was a little stiff,” Cardinals manager Oli Marmol told the Peacock broadcast. “The first three fastballs were at 91 (mph). First inning, he’s usually at 94, 95. So I didn’t want to take any chances. We’ll re-evaluate and see where he’s at.”

Matz is in the first year of a four-year, $44 million contract that he signed with the Cardinals over the off-season. He entered Sunday with a record of 3-3 and a 6.03 ERA in 37.1 innings on the season.

Angel Rondon, who was activated from the taxi squad before Sunday’s game, came into the game in relief of Matz in the first inning Sunday. The Cardinals currently lead the game 7-0 thanks to a lively start to the game by the offense, which has included contributions from rookies Nolan Gorman, Brendan Donovan and Juan Yepez.