JUPITER, Fla. — St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Alex Reyes did not throw his scheduled bullpen session Tuesday because of a sore right elbow and will have an MRI.
The 22-year-old right-hander made his major league debut Aug. 9 and was 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA in five starts and seven relief appearances. His fastball averaged more than 97 mph.
Reyes, a candidate for the final spot in the starting rotation, had been feeling soreness in the days leading up to camp, St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak said. Reyes’ participation on the Dominican Republic’s World Baseball Classic team is uncertain.
“I don’t like MRIs,” manager Mike Matheny said. “I’d rather he wasn’t getting that right now.”
Adam Wainwright, Carlos Martinez, Lance Lynn and Mike Leake are projected as the first four St. Louis starters, and Michael Wacha is a top candidate for the fifth spot. If healthy, Reyes was also considered a candidate, although he also could start the season in the bullpen to limit his workload.
Elbow injuries aren’t new for Reyes, who strained a ligament as a minor leaguer in 2013.
Separately, an arbitrator ruled in the Cardinals’ favor in Wacha’s arbitration hearing. He was awarded a raise from $539,000 to $2,775,000 instead of the $3.2 million he wanted.
Wacha, a 25-year-old right-hander, was 7-7 with a career-high 5.09 ERA last year in 24 starts and three relief appearances as he dealt with a stress reaction in his right scapula. That was down from 17-7 with a 3.38 ERA in 2015.
Heading into camp there had been speculation that the Cardinals’ might lessen Wacha’s workload by moving him to the bullpen, but Mozeliak said he expects a healthy Wacha to be in the starting rotation. He’s 32-21 in his career for the Cardinals.
“I’ve always felt like Wacha, given what he’s done for the organization, when right, he’s been very good,” Mozeliak said.
For the Cardinals, it was their first salary arbitration hearing since beating pitcher Darren Oliver in 1999.
Notes: Lynn also didn’t participate in Tuesday’s workouts. He is on leave because of a death in the family and isn’t expected to be back in Jupiter until Thursday. Lynn underwent ligament replacement surgery in November 2015 and didn’t pitch last season. The Cardinals expect him to be ready for the start of the season. … The Cardinals also sent minor league reliever Kendry Flores for an MRI on his shoulder.