Reyes could be a beneficiary of any roster expansion beyond 26 players for the 2020 season, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Reyes was optioned to Triple-A Memphis back on March 26 after a rocky Grapefruit League stint during which he posted an 8.31 ERA across a modest 4.1-inning sample. However, the unique conditions expected to be part of an abbreviated 2020 campaign -- a higher volume of double-headers and expanded rosters -- could represent ideal circumstances for a Reyes promotion. The right-hander has experience as both a starter and reliever, a level of versatility which Hummel points out would particularly enhance Reyes' chances of a promotion.
Reyes was optioned to Triple-A Memphis on Thursday. This isn't overly surprising after Reyes struggled across four spring appearances, finishing with an 8.31 ERA, 2.54 WHIP and 9:3 K:BB across 4.1 innings. While the Cardinals have yet to clarify his role for 2020, the team figures to handle the oft-injured righty with caution after injuries plagued Reyes again in 2019, limiting him to just 40.1 innings across three levels.
Reyes was credited with a save in a Grapefruit League win over the Twins on Monday, firing a scoreless ninth inning during which he allowed two hits and recorded two strikeouts. Reyes' outing wasn't without some adversity, as he worked around a pair of singles. However, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports manager Mike Shildt came away impressed with the oft-injured right-hander's work, remarking that Reyes looked "uninhibited" on the mound after dealing with numerous physical issues the last several years.
Reyes was unable to complete a full inning Tuesday in what was supposed to be a two-inning appearance, as he struggled with his command, Rob Rains of KSDK.com reports. He walked two batters and allowed two hits while only retiring one of the five hitters he faced. Only half of his 24 pitches were strikes. He hit 95 mph with his fastball and threw a quality changeup, but he did not display starter-level command. The Cardinals would obviously like for their former top prospect to work his way into the rotation mix this spring, but he has not gotten off to a good start. He still has minor-league options remaining, so if his struggles continue, he may open the year at Triple-A.
Reyes, who impressed during live batting practice Monday, is on a starter's schedule this spring and could be a candidate for one of two open spots in the Cardinals' starting rotation, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports. Following the news earlier Tuesday that Miles Mikolas could miss at least a month with a sore flexor tendon, the Cardinals officially have two open spots in the starting rotation behind the top trio of Jack Flaherty, Dakota Hudson and Adam Wainwright. Former ace Carlos Martinez and highly regarded South Korean import Kwang-Hyun Kim are considered the odds-on favorites for those roles, but Rogers notes a short-term stint as a starter might be an ideal way to acclimate the oft-injured but promising Reyes to the rigors of a big-league rotation.
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