The St. Louis Cardinals will be without Tyler O’Neill once again as the slugger has been placed on the IL with a finger fracture.
The St. Louis Cardinals have already missed Tyler O’Neill for a stretch this season when the left fielder strained his groin running out a ground ball. Now, they will be without him again as the O’Neill was placed on the 10-day Injured List prior to Tuesday’s game against the Pirates.
After starting off cold, Tyler O’Neill was red hot since his return from injury. Since he was reinstated on April 23, he had a .292/.333/.625 slash line with seven homers and 15 RBI in 20 starts. Before Nolan Arenado passed O’Neill in homers over the weekend, he had led the team with eight.
The injury to O’Neill happened during Sunday’s game against the Padres when the left fielder dove into second base. The injury was thought to only be a sprain at first, but now it appears he will miss more than the initially expected time. It’s unclear whether the fractured finger (in his glove hand) will take more than just the 10 days.
Given that the IL stint is retroactive to the 17th of May, O’Neill would first be eligible (I believe) to return next Thursday when the Cardinals head to Arizona.
Also leaving St. Louis is Junior Fernandez who did not have a great time on the field over the weekend. Daniel Ponce de Leon and John Nogowski have both been reactivated from the IL to take the two spots on the roster.
Both Nogowski and Ponce de Leon have been at Memphis while rehabbing. On Saturday, Ponce threw 2.0 innings against Keston Hiura and the rehabbing Christian Yelich playing for the AAA Nashville Sounds. While Ponce didn’t give up a run, he struck out two and walked three. He’ll fit in just fine.
Nogowski has hit .250 with a .630 OPS on the year at Memphis after his stellar spring. Despite the mediocre overall stats, he went 3-4 on Sunday at AAA to finish strong.
Despite the ugly misplay O’Neill had in left field on Sunday, losing his bat — and glove — in the lineup is a big blow. It’s easy to remember the bad, not the good, and O’Neill’s Gold Glove he was awarded in 2020 wasn’t on accident.
My expectation would be that until O’Neill returns, left field will be a platoon situation with Justin Williams and Lane Thomas out there, maybe with Nogowski every once in a while. In the first game against the Pirates, Justin Williams gets the first crack at left field with a right-hander on the mound.
Between Monday and when O’Neill is eligible to return, the Cardinals play the Pirates, Cubs, and White Sox. John Mozeliak is fielding questions from the media Tuesday afternoon and should give a better update on when O’Neill is expected back.