ST. LOUIS (KMOX) Alex Reyes’ 2017 baseball season ended, essentially, before it began when he had Tommy John surgery in early February. John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations for the St. Louis Cardinals plans to keep the right-handed power arm in as much of a “controlled environment” as possible, which might mean keeping him in Florida for extended rehab throughout April.

Mozeliak was a guest on Wednesday’s “Countdown To Opening Day” show on KMOX with host Chris Hrabe:

Reyes is the No. 1 prospect in the Cardinals system and the No. 17 prospect in all of baseball (Baseball America). Mozeliak says the next “eight weeks” will decide how soon we see Reyes in a Cardinals uniform in 2018.

“If we can be patient and allow him to have some normalcy, and not rush him I could envision using the month of April as a rehab opportunity,” Mozeliak says. “Keep him down in Florida and then progress him accordingly.”

As some combination of Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Miles Mikolas, Michel Wacha, Tyler Lyons, Jack Flaherty and Austin Gomber are riding in convertibles as the 2018 starting rotation, Reyes might be staying in Florida to continue rehab. But will that rehab work be as a starting or relief pitcher?

Mozeliak said at the moment, Luke Gregerson is the Cardinals closer – but Spring Training could change that. Reyes could change that.

But Mozeliak seems to prefer the idea of rehabbing him more as a starting pitcher, which would allow greater control.

“You know you are going to have those four days off,” Mozeliak says. “You know you’re going to have four straight days of rest, sometimes five. What you can’t do in the bullpen is control that environment, in terms of when you’re going to get someone up, when you’re going to get him hot, when you’re going to use them. And that yo-yo effect can be a little bit of a concern to someone like myself when you’re trying to protect someone like Alex.”

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