While it is sad, Joe isn’t losing sleep over Zach Duke being lost for the 2017 season, maybe for good.
The reason why Joe hasn’t broken out into a cold sweat over this is the Cardinals have so many arms scheduled to return for the 2017 season from injuries. One of those is lefty Marco Gonzales.
Once thought to be a top pitching prospect and showing flashes of his billing, Gonzales had shoulder problems in 2015 and blew his arm out prior to the 2016 season needing Tommy John surgery.
Supposedly with his arm/shoulder problems behind him, he had already begun his march to return to the Cardinals roster as he is working out at the Cardinals minor league complex in Jupiter, and perhaps could secure a key role in the bullpen, as Gonzales explained to Brian Stull of STLBaseballWeekly.com.
“I’ve been throwing for a couple of weeks now, it’s good,” he continued. “I’m really happy with the progress and I know everyone that I’ve been working with down here is happy with it too. I feel strong. It’s a slow process so we’re just going day-by-day and seeing how it works out, but so far nothing but positives.”
Again, this is why Joe isn’t crying over Duke. Provided the following guys return to form, the Cardinals could easily add three lefties to the bullpen by way of return from injuries: Tyler Lyons, Tim Cooney and Gonzales.
Provided all three can pitch effectively, that’s a helluva bullpen depth, even without Duke.