ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals plan to start the season Thursday in Cincinnati with pitchers Kwang Hyun Kim, Dakota Hudson and Miles Mikolas on the injured list along with outfielder Harrison Bader.
Hudson always planned to begin on the season on the injured list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Kim is dealing with a back injury, Mikolas with a sore shoulder and Bader has a strained right foreman that could keep him out a month, the Cardinals said Sunday.
The Cardinals also reassigned pitcher Kodi Whitley and outfielder Lane Thomas and reassigned catchers Tyler Heineman and Dennis Ortego and infielders Max Moroff and Jose Rondon to the minors as they settle their Opening Day roster.
The moves mean the Cardinals plan to keep utility man John Nogowski, infielder Edmundo Sosa, pitcher Jake Woodford and outfielders Austin Dean and Justin Williams on the roster they will submit Thursday to start the season.
"It was a tough competition, there were some tough conversations," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. "There's some guys left off the roster who are major league players that we couldn't play with. And good teams have to have that depth."
Among the tightest competitions was backup catcher to Yadier Molina, where Andrew Knizner earned the job to begin his first full big league season and the switch-hitting Heineman could be called upon to help later this season.
Bader's injury opened the way for Williams, who had a strong spring training, to join top prospect Dylan Carlson and Tyler O'Neill in the outfield. Dean and Nogowski will be the primary backups, though Tommy Edman can also play outfield.
Without Kim or Mikolas on their Opening Day roster, the Cardinals will roll out Jack Flaherty and ageless wonder Adam Wainwright at the top of the rotation. Hard-throwing Carlos Martinez, a candidate for the back of the bullpen, will get a chance to prove himself as a starter along with fellow relief options Daniel Ponce de Leon and John Gant.