By Rob Rains
JUPITER, Fla. – Jordan Hicks took an important step on his comeback journey on Monday, throwing his first live batting practice of the spring.
The Cardinals’ closer said it was the first time he threw to live hitters since November.
“That was with no cleats on and it was indoors pretty sure against college guys,” Hicks said. “It felt good to be out there today and get back to it.
“I feel healthy, if I didn’t I probably wouldn’t be throwing live BP. I think we’re in a good spot.”
Hicks underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2019 and then opted out of the 2020 season because of his Type 1 diabetes, which makes him a higher risk toward contracting coronavirus.
He said so far this spring he has felt safe and was pleased with the health and safety protocols that have been put in place by the Cardinals and Major League Baseball.
“For the most part I feel really safe here,” Hicks said.
The next step for Hicks will be to get into a spring training game, and he said he still is trying to work his way into being on the opening day roster.
“I do plan on competing for an opening day spot,” Hicks said.
Manager Mike Shildt has been pleased with how Hicks has been progressing this spring.
“He’s checked off a lot of boxes,” Shildt said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys go through rehab and I recognize that’s quite a journey. He’s getting toward the end of that journey to his credit. I’m just happy for him that he’s been able to go about it the way that he has and the reward in the journey is that he’s able to get back on the mound and face major-league hitters.
“We’ve got 29 days left in camp so he is in really good shape to make our club.”
Hicks’s appearance came after Andrew Miller also threw to hitters for the first time this spring.
“Watching Hicks come in after me was a little demoralizing because he looked incredible,” Miller said. “It’s exciting to see him back out there. I talked to him and he’s put in a lot of hard work so you’ve got to feel good for him to get back out there and face hitters and see positive results.
“Anytime you watch him throw it’s pretty eye-opening and is pretty fun to watch. He’s a really special talent and we are all rooting for him. Him being out there is going to help us win a lot of games.”
The Cardinals did not play a game on Monday, instead holding a 4 ½ inning intrasquad game and a workout. They will play Miami on Tuesday, with Adam Wainwright getting the start.
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Photo by AP courtesy of KSDK Sports