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Cardinals have interesting plan this season for flamethrower Jordan Hicks

Jordan Hicks throwing

Bringing back Albert Pujols is not the only way that the St. Louis Cardinals are going outside of the box this season.

Ahead of Opening Day this week, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol told reporters that the team plans to make fireballer Jordan Hicks their No. 5 starter this season, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Derrick Goold. Marmol added that Hicks will debut as a starter on Tuesday against Kansas City and will be on a pitch limit, throwing between two and four innings. Marmol also stressed that Hicks will not be an opener but rather a true starter.

It is a bit of an unexpected change for Hicks, a full-time reliever throughout his MLB career who even closed games for the Cardinals a few seasons ago. For a pitcher who posts an average fastball velocity of 101.3 miles per hour (via Fangraphs) and who had Tommy John surgery in 2019 too, you would think that Hicks was always going to be a limited-work bullpen pitcher.

Goold adds however that it has long been the 25-year-old Hicks’ goal and dream to be a starter. With the Cardinals opening up the season with fellow righty Jack Flaherty on the injured list, it appears that Hicks’ time has come. Hicks already went viral a few days ago for an absurd pitch in spring, so now we will be able to see him strut his stuff on a multi-inning basis as a starter.

Photo: Apr 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Jordan Hicks (12) throws on the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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