The St. Louis Cardinals will likely be without pitcher Zach Duke for the 2017 season as the lefty recently underwent Tommy John surgery.
General Manager John Mozeliak confirmed the news, first reported by Jenifer Langosch on MLB.com, and noted that Duke will begin his rehab next month.
The 33-year old reliever was acquired from the Chicago White Sox by the Cardinals on July 31 this past season and appeared in a career high 81 total games – 28 with St. Louis.
This season while with the White Sox, Duke pitched in back to back games 14 times, twice in three consecutive games. He quickly became a trusted reliever for Mike Matheny, who called his number seven times in back to back games and six out of seven games towards the end of September.
“You look at his useage, I used him almost every single day because at some point we’ve needed to,” said Matheny after keeping Duke “hands off” the first two games of the Pittsburgh series. “It was catching up. Tried getting him these two days, which was huge we were able to. What a great pickup he’s been for us–he’s filled so many different roles. Unfortunately, when you fill different roles you’re probably going to get the call pretty often and it’s happened more often.”
As it turned out, Duke also did not pitch in the final game of the season for St. Louis.
He finished the season in St. Louis with a line of 28 G, 0-1, 1.93 ERA, 23.1 IP, 17 H, 5 ER/R, 13 BB, and 26 Ks.
Duke will earn $5.5 million in 2017 and can become a free agent at the end of the season.