Shildt: Jordan Hicks 'feeling good, looks good' in rehab

"Taking it rightfully slow and in the progression that he should be," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt says about his closer's return to full strength.

Tom Ackerman
May 19, 2020 - 12:00 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - As he continues his injury rehab, fireballer Jordan Hicks is looking good but "taking it rightfully slow," according to Cardinals manager Mike Shildt on KMOX Sunday.

What is that, like, a mid-90's fastball for Hicks?

Just kidding. Kind of.

Hicks, who owns the major league record for the fastest pitch in history (105.1 mph, tied with Aroldis Chapman), underwent Tommy John surgery on June 25, 2019 after recording 14 saves, striking out 31 batters in 28 1/3 innings.

We're coming up on one year since ligament reconstruction of his right elbow, and Hicks is throwing during baseball's shutdown. If the players approve MLB's proposal to start a delayed season and we begin baseball in July, could Hicks be an immediate factor in the Cardinals' bullpen?

"With the smaller chance of a minor league season starting, that would impact, a little bit, of a Jordan being able to get ready in a highly competitive setting," Shildt told me. "But we'll see what that looks like when we return to play."

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Let's go back in time for a moment. The Cardinals won the NL Central title --  and the NLDS against the Braves -- without Hicks, their closer. What could they do with him?

For now, they like what they're seeing and hearing from the 23-year-old... who skipped from Class A-Advanced to the big leagues before his season-ending injury a year later. He's just scratching the surface and the Cardinals have plenty of time to be patient.

"In the progression that he should be," Shildt told me. "I really have been pleased with Jordan's diligence. He's been very dedicated... on the field, off the field. He's right on track."

But the exact start of baseball during the coronavirus pandemic clearly an unknown -- and changing day by day -- no timeline has been established for Hicks' return to the roster.

"The track is still to be determined," Shildt said.