St. Louis Cardinals News: Tyler O’Neill lifted from Saturday’s game
The injury bug has bitten the St. Louis Cardinals early this season with Kwang Hyun Kim and Miles Mikolas. Now, it has hit to a part of the roster that the team can least afford to lose a player: in the outfield.
Tyler O’Neill left Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers with left groin tightness, the team announced. He was replaced in left field by Austin Dean.
The severity of the injury is unclear and will not be known until he undergoes more testing. But losing O’Neill for any length of time would put even more strain on an outfield group that was thin and inexperienced to begin with before losing Harrison Bader (forearm) for the first month-plus of the regular season.
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It’s a position that the Cardinals and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak understood the team would be in if they experienced any injuries this season. They bet on their young outfield, headlined by Dylan Carlson, to take the next step by getting more reps. Carlson has been up for the test and has showcased his power and defensive abilities in center field. But the rest of the group has had growing pains, which is to be expected, and the team hopes more experience allows them to settle in.
Even then, the outfield was one of the most obvious spots that Mozeliak and the front office could address at the trade deadline. Their farm system is flush with prospects, though the team has not shown a willingness to deal any of them in past trade talks. But in a season that the Cardinals are clearly going for it, evidenced by the Nolan Arenado trade, perhaps they get uncomfortable in trade talks to go all-in and compete with the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.
But first, the Cardinals await results on O’Neill in what could shake up their outfield alignment once more early on in the season.