Shildt: Hicks isn't the 'definitive closer,' will be used at 'end of games'


JUPITER, Fla. (KMOX) - There's been no early indication from the St. Louis Cardinals on who will be closing games in 2019. But 22-year-old Jordan Hicks seems to have as good a shot as anyone.

He was the "reliever of the day" for manager Mike Shildt on Friday, as he's decided to pick one pitcher per day to talk to media about. He first wanted to reflect on how impressed he was with Hicks' performance in 2018, complimenting his maturity level after skipping Triple-A and being thrown into some high-leverage sitautions right from the start.

"Just really proud of Jordan which is even more cause to have him be in a situation where he can continue to have those higher-leverage situations and he can pitch on the back end of games," Shildt says. "We're not going to go definitive closer. The good news about Jordan is he can close for sure, he did it last year."

Hicks was six for 13 in save opportunities last season, with an overall ERA of 3.59 in 77.2 innings. Shildt says the key for him – and all of St. Louis' pitcher he added – is getting more consistent. 

Shildt says depending on the situation, "you can expect to see Jordan at the end of games," and lefty-right matchups likely won't matter.

It also sounds like he'll get a good amount of work in Grapefruit League games which begin on Feb. 23, as Shildt explained Hicks' workouts have been adapted to set him up well for when games begin.