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Report: Cards' Gonzales has elbow injury

Left-handed pitcher to miss Opening Day, waiting for second opinion
April 6, 2016

Thursday will be Opening Day for prospects all across Minor League Baseball. For Marco Gonzales, Thursday will be a missed opportunity.

The Cardinals' No. 7 prospect has been sidelined with a left elbow injury, according to a report by's Jenifer Langosch. St. Louis hasn't yet announced the severity of the injury as Gonzales is set to receive a second opinion on the elbow later this week, and as such, no immediate timetable has been provided for his return.

Beyond just the normal concern of elbow problems, this particular injury is especially unfortunate, given Gonzales' last 12 months. The 24-year-old left-hander missed time in 2015 due to tightness in his left pectoral and left shoulder. He threw only 81 1/3 innings between the Minors and Majors as a result.

The Cardinals were hopeful that those issues were in the past, however, and Gonzales was listed as "back and healthy" for's Cardinals Prospect Primer. 

"He's ready to go this year, and we're looking forward to a real productive year from him. When you think back, he's only a few years removed from the Draft process and he came through the system quick as well," Cardinals director of player development Gary LaRocque told for that piece. "This will be a good year to see him through the entire year and stay healthy through the year and have him help us [in St. Louis]. He has his sights clearly set on that, and we look forward to him being part of it."

The 2013 first-rounder was slated to join Triple-A Memphis for the start of the 2016 season. With 11 Major League appearances under his belt, he was also going to be on the shortlist for Triple-A hurlers who could make the jump back to the highest level, should there be a need for a starter. Gonzales posted a 5.45 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings with the Redbirds last season but has the stuff, namely a plus-plus changeup, to pitch in the back end of a Major League rotation.

With Gonzales out, three of the Cardinals' top five pitching prospects will miss Minor League Opening Day. Alex Reyes (suspended) and Luke Weaver (fractured wrist) are the other two.

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.