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Cardinals place Alex Reyes on DL with lat strain

Reyes’ return to full health was a brief one.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers Photo by Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Just one day after returning from a one-year, one-month, and one-day absence spent undergoing and recovering from Tommy John surgery, Cardinals right-hander Alex Reyes is headed back to the disabled list.

The Cardinals placed Reyes on the DL with a right lat strain on Thursday, per a club announcement:

Reyes’ injury is a relatively significant one and he’ll miss more than a few starts, as Cardinals GM Michael Girsch told reporters including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Benjamin Hochman on Thursday.

Reyes, 23, was visited by manager Mike Matheny and trainers during his start against the Brewers on Wednesday afternoon and exited after throwing only 73 pitches over four shutout innings, but the Cardinals didn’t indicate that the issue was serious following the game. Per MLB.com’s Joe Trezza, Reyes said that he felt fatigued but wasn’t in any pain following the game, while manager Mike Matheny didn’t seem to think the injury was a serious concern.

With John Gant, whose spot Reyes took in the rotation, having been optioned to Triple-A Memphis on Thursday, it seems likely that right-hander Carlos Martinez will return from the DL (where he’s also been with a right lat strain) and take Reyes’ spot in the rotation next week. Lefty Austin Gomber, who was recalled from Memphis Thursday, could also be a candidate to make a spot start if Martinez isn’t quite ready yet.

This development will provide some respite for young right-handers Luke Weaver and Jack Flaherty, who seemed to be the most likely candidates to lose their rotation spots when Martinez ultimately returned. With Reyes having worn down against the Brewers, it’s perhaps possible that the Cardinals could re-evaluate their decision to use him as a starter when he returns from the DL, but at the bare minimum this injury gives Weaver and Flaherty at least a couple more starts to prove that they don’t deserve to be demoted to the bullpen or minor leagues.