Roy Oswalt’s stay on the disabled list may not be as short as initially hoped and Chase Utley still isn’t ready to return from knee problems, but the Phillies will at least have Carlos Ruiz back in the lineup tonight.
Ruiz has been activated from the DL after missing the past 12 games with a strained lower back and his return comes at a particularly good time because the Phillies placed backup catcher Brian Schneider on the DL with a hamstring injury yesterday.
Ruiz, who hit just .226 with two homers and a .681 OPS in 21 games before the injury, will resume starting 4-5 times per week behind the plate with Dane Sardinha replacing Schneider as Chooch’s understudy.
The Cardinals have selected right-hander Miles Mikolas as their Opening Day starter, the club revealed Saturday. It’ll mark the first career Opening Day start for Mikolas, who is scheduled to go up against the Brewers when the team hits the road on March 28.
The 29-year-old righty was a strong contender for the 2018 NL Cy Young Award, earning All-Star distinctions and pitching to a career-best 18-4 record with a 2.83 ERA, 1.3 BB/9, 6.5 SO/9, and 4.3 fWAR over 200 2/3 innings. He’s positioned to lead the Cardinals rotation in 2019 as well, with former Opening Day starters Carlos Martínez and Adam Wainwright and some combination of right-handers Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Alex Reyes, and John Gant behind him.
Manager Mike Shildt told reporters that Flaherty, Wacha, Wainwright, and Martínez had all been considered for the honor, but admitted that Opening Day honors were ultimately handed to Mikolas “in recognition of [his performance] last year.” The Cardinals are scheduled to play a four-game set against the Brewers to start the season and will stop over in Pittsburgh for another two games before returning to St. Louis for their opening homestand against the Padres on April 4. Additional pitching assignments have yet to be announced.