The expected was confirmed before Wednesday’s game as St. Louis Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak announced that Marco Gonzales will undergo season-ending ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, more commonly referred to as Tommy John surgery.

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16-2-19 Gonzales-Lilliquist“Obviously, it’s disappointing,” said Mozeliak. “We were hopeful it wouldn’t require this, but unfortunately this year’s going to be lost. I did speak with him, he’s certainly disappointed too but as a pitcher he understands there’s risk when you throw and he feels he’ll come back stronger and better than prior to the injury.”

While a conservative approach may have been possible, the chance of that process being unsuccessful and leading to the loss of an additional season led Gonzales to the decision to move forward with the surgery.

“When you look at his particular situation of last year, was in essence lost,” pointed out Mozeliak. “You know that this year’s in jeopardy and then ultimately you start having to do the calculus on what next year’s going to look like, that’s a scary venture at his age.”

The 23-year old Gonzales will likely have the surgery on Friday performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthapedic Clinic in Los Angeles. Normal recovery is 12-15 months.

Gonzales made only one appearance with the Cardinals last season and was limited to just 14 games in Memphis due to injury. However, Marco looked to have regained his health and form in Spring Training as he appeared in five games. The injury was described as “acute” by Mozeliak, who added that it occurred after the lefty had been optioned to minor-league camp.

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“From a big picture standpoint, it certainly elevates the importance of Deck McGuire and (Jeremy) Hefner when you look at sort of our depth of what we have,” said Mozeliak. “It also puts a little more pressure on making sure that someone like an Alex Reyes continues to work hard and when his suspension is up, he is someone that could be in the mix if necessary.”

McGuire has already made two starts for Memphis this season, receiving no-decisions in 11.1 innings pitched while allowing just one earned run and striking out eight batters.


–Mozeliak also announced that infielder Ruben Tejada has recovered enough from his quadriceps injury to begin a rehab assignment tomorrow in Springfield (AA). Tejada could be ready to return to the 25-man roster as early as Sunday, which could make the decision interesting as rookie Aldemys Diaz is currently batting .533 (8-15) in his last five games.

“It’s complicated,” acknowledged Mozeliak. “One thing about how you have to think about our lineup is optimizing whoever’s hot and how things are going. But I do think in Diaz’ case, we were preparing him to play multiple positions and so there’s an option for that and I think Tejada can do the same. I just think again, it’s another tool in the toolbox.”

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