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Cardinals Offseason Acquisition to Make Season Debut Tuesday

St. Louis Cardinals ace Sonny Gray is in line to open his season Tuesday against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Cardinals signed the right-hander to a three-year $75 million contract in the offseason. He was initially in line to be the team’s Opening Day starter. However, a hamstring injury in spring training forced him to start the season on the injured list. Gray is coming off a fantastic 2023 campaign with the Minnesota Twins, leading the majors with a 2.83 FIP and finishing second to Gerrit Cole in the American League Cy Young award voting.

Sonny Gray to Make Cardinals Debut on Tuesday

Gray will take the mound hoping to stop a two-game slide for the 5-6 Cardinals. Last week he lobbied to make his season opener during the team’s first homestand of the season and Gray told reporters on Sunday he felt ready.

“I feel good, I feel normal and I guess that’s the best thing I could say- I felt normal for a while,” Gray said. “I came through everything feeling really well and feeling really good and like I said just feeling normal. So yeah, I’m excited to take the ball.”

Gray finished second in AL Cy Young voting in 2023 with the Minnesota Twins sporting a 2.79 ERA and fanning 183 batters in 184 innings pitched. His return is welcome for the Cardinals pitching staff who have struggled early on in the season with a team ERA of 4.55, good for 21st in the league. The Cardinals have had just three quality starts through the first two weeks of the season, with two of them coming from Gray’s replacement Opening Day starter Miles Mikolas.

The Cardinals Finally Get Pitching Help

Gray’s first start of the season has him going up against Phillies ace Zack Wheeler. St. Louis is hoping that the 34-year-old can help the club turn its rotation around. The pitching staff’s 4.85 ERA ranks 20th in MLB, and their 5.48 FIP ranks 29th.

Gray’s return to the rotation means someone will likely be left off of it. Zach Thompson, the Cardinals 2019 first-round pick, is a likely candidate to be bumped from the rotation with Gray’s return. Thompson is 0-2 with a 6.97 ERA in his first two starts of the 2024 campaign. He was not initially slated to be in the Cardinals rotation to start the season. Thompson had a tough draw to start the season. He had two starts against the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres.

Main Photo: © Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports


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