Smoltz and the Cardinals have expressed mutual interest — and reiterated it privately, sources said — in having the veteran and almost-certain Hall of Famer return as a potential fourth starter.
Mark DeRosa, the Cardinals’ starting third baseman at the end of this season, had surgery Monday to repair a completely torn tendon sheath in his left wrist. DeRosa’s agent said the veteran will be cleared for baseball activities in time for spring training.
DeRosa, 34, injured the wrist on June 30, taking a swing against Randy Johnson. He returned 18 days later and played the rest of the season with the injury.
Before hitting .385 in the playoffs, he struggled, batting .200 in the final month of the regular season.
A free agent this winter, DeRosa will spend five to six weeks in a cast, and his offseason workouts will be curtailed for rehab, his agent Keith Grunewald said.
The Cardinals and DeRosa had discussed his return before tabling conversations until after the season.