Cardinals closer Helsley reportedly still not close to returning from IL

St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Ryan Helsley (56) delivers a pitch to the Texas Rangers...
St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Ryan Helsley (56) delivers a pitch to the Texas Rangers during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. The Cardinals won 1-0. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)(Jim Cowsert | AP)
Published: Jun. 26, 2023 at 5:36 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Perhaps lost in the shuffle of the London Series excitement over the weekend was a report that the Cardinals’ primary closer is still not particularly close to rejoining the St. Louis bullpen.

John Denton reported Sunday from London that despite Helsley being eligible to come off the injured list as of Sunday, it seems that Cardinals manager Oli Marmol doesn’t envision the right-hander’s return being any time in the immediate future.

Helsley has been out of action with a right forearm strain for the past couple of weeks. He hasn’t seen the mound since June 7 at Texas and did not make the trip to London with the team this past weekend.

Though Helsley’s numbers this season pale in comparison to the 1.25 ERA he carried in his All-Star campaign in 2022, Helsley’s 3.24 ERA in the current year still places him as one of the Cardinals’ most reliable arms. In Helsley’s absence, St. Louis has found Jordan Hicks to be a revelation in the ninth, converting all four of his save opportunities over the past couple of weeks.

Although Hicks could handle the ninth for the foreseeable future if he keeps pitching this way, Helsley’s eventual return would be a key element for the Cardinals to find the consistency they crave from the bullpen down the stretch.