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Ryan Helsley (R/R)
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Ryan Helsley
St. Louis Cardinals
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St. Louis Cardinals

Helsley, who earned a hold with two scoreless innings during a 6-3 Grapefruit League loss to the Marlins on Monday, kept himself firmly in contention for a spot on the starting rotation to open the season, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports. "Valuable guy," said Cardinals manager Mike Shildt. "A guy that's historically been able to hold his velocity in a Minor League setting as he goes deeper into games. But clearly he is able to have high velocity with plus secondary pitches in the short outings as well. That's really what we're looking for in the modern game."

Helsley was a rousing success as a reliever last season, posting a 2.95 ERA across his first 24 major-league appearances. The 25-year-old threw an efficient 22 pitches during his pair of frames Monday, and he's slated to have an opportunity to corroborate his ability to go multiple innings as a starter later in spring training. For the moment, Helsley will continue to incorporate his curveball in Grapefruit League action -- he threw five in Monday's appearance -- after primarily deploying a cutter and triple-digit fastball in his 2019 big-league stint. The latter pitch, which arguably makes him the team's hardest-throwing healthy pitcher, also has Helsley in contention for the closer's role. Feb 25 11:29 am (EST)

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