Cardinals pitcher makes mockery of rehab start, sets minor-league strikeout record

Alex Reyes struck out 13 straight batters in his final rehab start, setting a record and declaring that he’s definitely ready to rejoin the Cardinals rotation. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

On Thursday night, pitcher Alex Reyes sent a message to his team, the St. Louis Cardinals. That message? He’s ready to be done with rehab now. Not just regular ready. REALLY ready.

He didn’t send that message by text or email or messenger pigeon. He sent it through pitches. In what was one of the most dominant minor league starts in recent memory, Alex Reyes struck out nine consecutive batters while making his final rehab start with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, and 13 in total. And while Reyes was mowing down opposing batters, he also set an incredible record.

That’s astonishing. Reyes did something that no one else has ever done before in the entire history of the Pacific Coast League. And In fact, only a handful of pitchers in the modern history of major league baseball have done that. The record is held by Tom Seaver, who struck out 10 straight when he was with the New York Mets in April 1970. Behind him are Ricky Nolasco and Aaron Harang, who both struck out nine consecutive batters in 2009 and 2012 respectively. If Reyes had done it in the majors, it’s a feat that would be remembered for years. But since he did it in the minors, it’s not likely people will remember it at all.

But there’s one more impressive detail: Reyes tossed that sparkling start while rehabbing from the dreaded Tommy John surgery, which he had back in February 2017. He missed that entire season, but his rehab has been going quite swimmingly.

Yup, it definitely looks like he’s ready to come back. And the Cardinals just might agree. He’s eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on Monday, and his Thursday start would allow him to slot neatly into the Cardinals’ rotation and start on Tuesday. The Cards haven’t confirmed yet, but GM John Mozeliak, who was in the stands to watch Reyes’ 13-strikeout gem, told that he “wouldn’t bet against it.”

It’s been a long road to recovery for Reyes, but there is no better way to say goodbye to rehab than with a thoroughly dominant, history-making performance.

Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

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