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ST. LOUIS- What had been speculation became all but official Wednesday. Jack Flaherty’s return to the Cardinals pitching staff is imminent.

Our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report that Flaherty will start game two of Friday’s doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs.

Flaherty had missed most of the summer, first due to an oblique injury, and then last month, because of shoulder soreness.

Flaherty is 9-2 with a 3.02 ERA in 2021. His return will come with some guardrails, as he’s not equipped to return as a full starter. A seven-inning doubleheader game leaves fewer innings for a bullpen to cover.

Another Cardinal pitcher working his way back from injury, Dakota Hudson, was scratched from a rehab start for AAA Memphis Wednesday amid talk that he’s ready to return to help in some form.