Just getting started: Cardinals name Hicks fifth starter, will gain arm strength at work | St. Louis Cardinals

As demonstrated over the weekend if the Cardinals had taken a two-run lead in the seventh inning against Pittsburgh and their sizzling sinkerballer hadn’t come into play, the club chose to make it official before it was obvious.

Jordan Hicks, the team’s former closer, will start the season as the fifth starter.

That was the start, not the start, emphasized manager Oliver Marmol.

Hicks will face Kansas City Tuesday, and while his pitch count isn’t high enough for him to field five or six innings, he’ll gain that stamina at work, the Cardinals said. Hicks will pitch at least two innings, and the Cardinals will likely limit his pitch count to about 40 pitches depending on how he comes out of his bullpen session on Friday.

He will be in a starter program because the Cardinals signed him here for the season opener while Jack Flaherty (shoulder) continues his rehab.

“I’m excited,” Hicks said. “I think I’m ready to go. Just go out there when it’s one, two, three innings to start it and then build from there.”

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Hicks, 25, has pitched 10 innings at the majors since 2019 when he was closer to the team. Hicks made the opening-day roster from 2018 spring practice because of his overwhelming fastball, which has touched 104 mph in games and has sunk. He’s leveled off at around 99mph to 101mph pitching extended innings this spring, and he feels he can go even further as a starter if needed.

He was a starter in the minors and maintained his speed at 99 mph after the fifth inning.

This story will be updated.

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