Cardinals finally promote infielder Jose Rondon from Triple-A

Jose Rondon #64 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after hitting a triple against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning of a Grapefruit League spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on March 10, 2021 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Jose Rondon #64 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after hitting a triple against the Washington Nationals during the ninth inning of a Grapefruit League spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on March 10, 2021 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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With the St. Louis Cardinals dealing with injuries and needing more offensive firepower, they recalled infielder Jose Rondon from Triple-A.

As the St. Louis Cardinals once again placed Miles Mikolas on the injured list, they called up infielder Jose Rondon from Triple-A Memphis, reversing a report from Friday that he would be released to Venezuela for Olympic qualifying.

The Cardinals also recalled Junior Fernández and optioned pitcher Johan Oviedo to the minors.

Rondon, 27, immediately figures to be one of the team’s best bats off the bench. He is a power hitting infielder who has nine home runs and 24 RBI in 268 career at-bats. He continued that level of production in Triple-A this season, hitting six home runs and 19 RBI in 85 at-bats, while slashing an underwhelming .235/.301/.482.

The Cardinals could certainly use another bat in the lineup. While Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt have stepped up, and Tyler O’Neill has been a home run hitting revelation, the rest of the lineup has been battered and bruised. Harrison Bader has been on the IL twice. Paul Dejong is currently on the IL. And the rest of the outfield not named Dylan Carlson has struggled this season.

Rondon should also provide a versatile option defensively, as he has the ability to play second and third bases along with shortstop. It’s unlikely he sees any starts, of course, but he has the ability to make occasional spot starts and the talent to maximize those starts offensively.

If Rondon performs well, he likely could stay on the major-league roster the rest of the season. But if he struggles, he could easily be released to continue his pursuit of making the Venezuelan Olympic team.

But the Cardinals were smart to give him an opportunity now. Their injuries allow plenty of chances for him to make an impact and when given the chance in the past, has maximized those opportunities, though limiting the strikeouts will be the primary factor for him to stick in St. Louis.