Former top pitching prospect Alex Reyes set to return to Cardinals on Wednesday

The St. Louis Cardinals are about to add a very big arm to their rotation.

Next week, the Cardinals will reportedly welcome hard-throwing righty Alex Reyes back to the rotation. He missed all of last season and the start of this season with Tommy John surgery.

Reyes, 23, posted a 1.57 ERA with 52 strikeouts in 46 innings during his MLB debut in 2016. He hurt his elbow in spring training 2017 and needed ligament reconstruction. Prior to the injury, Reyes was considered one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, if not the best.

Over the last few weeks Reyes has been storming through the minors on a rehab assignment, striking out 44 in 23 scoreless innings. Last time out he fanned 13 batters in seven innings, including nine in a row at one point.

President of baseball operations John Mozeliak indicated the team will not set an innings limit on Reyes this year, though they will be smart about it. From MLB.com's Joe Trezza:

"Right now, I don't anticipate any restrictions," president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said.

In-game, Reyes will be subject to standard pitch count and high-stress inning assessments, not different parameters tailored specially for him. He broke the 90-pitch barrier in each of his final two rehab starts. His career high in pitches thrown is 115, two years ago in Chicago. Staying within that range qualifies as standard for any 23-year-old prospect in 2018.

The Cardinals are currently without Adam Wainwright (elbow) and Carlos Martinez (lat), though free agent pickup Miles Mikolas has been excellent, and both Jack Flaherty and Michael Wacha have been very good as well. Needless to say though, getting Reyes back will be a huge boost for the Cardinals as they move forward in the tight NL Central race.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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