On Monday, Jack Flaherty made his first pitching appearance since late September and was quite impressive, giving the St. Louis Cardinals three innings and striking out five batters.
Flaherty also only allowed one run on one hit before giving way to left-hander Steven Matz.
The Cardinals managed to defeat the defending World Series champion Houston Astros by a final of 7-1.
But the young right-hander set an early tone for the Cardinals in Monday’s game, and appears ready to take on the workload of a full 162-game season for the first time since 2019.
The 27-year-old commented on his outing and how he feels heading into the 2023 season, as shared by team insider Derrick Goold.
"Go out today and I have this chance to set a tone and remind everyone. Got a chance to set a tone and it felt good to be able to do that. It was kind of like, yeah, I’m good." — #stlcards Jack Flaherty, when asked about what returning to the mound.https://t.co/gneg3CIZZn
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) March 7, 2023
This is certainly encouraging for the Cardinals.
The team has banked heavily on a bounce-back season from Flaherty, and his outing on Monday was certainly impressive, which could bode well for the right-hander.
Flaherty was off to a hot start in 2021 before injuries to his oblique and shoulder derailed him.
He was limited to just eight starts in 2022.
However, he appeared to return to form last September, which gave the Cardinals the confidence that he had overcome his ailments.
A healthy Flaherty would be a major boost for St. Louis and could give them the top-of-the-rotation arm they so desperately need without having to make a trade, depending on how the season plays out.
But Cardinals fans certainly have to be encouraged by what they saw out of the right-hander on Monday, as he dominated a powerful Astros lineup and earned his first win of the spring.NEXT: Dylan Carlson Is Showing Off His Power This Spring