St. Louis Cardinals News: Tyler O’Neill to return Friday
Reinforcements are on the way. Finally.
The St. Louis Cardinals outfield, which is among the most inexperienced groups in baseball, is set to have Tyler O’Neill return off the injured list when the team returns home on Friday, manager Mike Shildt told reporters, including Zachary Silver of MLB.com.
O’Neill, 26, has been out since April 10 after suffering a right groin strain against the Milwaukee Brewers. He is now running full speed and recently hit a couple home runs in a simulated game, Shildt said, which indicates that the groin strain was minor and that he appears fully recovered from the injury.
He is eligible to come off the Injured List on Wednesday, but with the Cardinals having an off day on Thursday, the team decided to give him an extra rest day to ensure that he returns at 100 percent health.
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While O’Neill’s return will help the Cardinals, it remains to be seen whether he can translate his dominant spring training to the regular season. He hit 4 for 28 with 14 strikeouts in eight games and often looked lost at the plate. His strikeout percentage will drop, of course, but it will need to drop significantly for Shildt and the coaching staff to feel comfortable giving him extended playing time.
Still, getting any help — especially a veteran option — will be a welcome addition for the Cardinals. Harrison Bader remains out, so they have had to rely on Dylan Carlson, Justin Williams, Austin Dean and Lane Thomas, among others, to fill the void. Besides Carlson, the group has struggled and is a unit that is highly likely to be addressed before the trade deadline if it continues.
But the O’Neill addition should help. Bader doesn’t seem far behind, either. Slowly but surely, the Cardinals’ outfield finally appears to be taking shape.