Cardinals: Tyler O’Neill dealing with another hand injury
St. Louis Cardinals slugger Tyler O’Neill is once again dealing with a hand injury, which could impact him during the second half of the regular season.
When Tyler O’Neill stood in the batting cage on Monday in San Francisco, he clenched the bat and tested how comfortably he could grip the bat and what degree of pain he could tolerate. It marked the second time that he has had to do such a thing, with the first being when he broke his hand earlier this season.
O’Neill told reporters, including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that he is “no stranger to playing with a broken hand of any sort. That’s for damn sure this year.”
O’Neill, 26, ended up progressing enough where the St. Louis Cardinals did not need to place him on the injured list. But that he is dealing with yet another hand injury has to be a frustrating development for both him and the team, considering that he has been their best and most consistent offensive threat this season, as he has hit .277/.332/.559 with 15 home runs and 36 RBI in 220 at-bats.
Of any player not named Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt, O’Neill is the player the Cardinals can least afford to lose in a lineup that has been among the most inconsistent in baseball. The good news, however, is that the All-Star break is near and O’Neill will be able to rest it and get as close to 100 percent as he can before the second half of the regular season.
And boy, will the Cardinals ever need him. They are starting to trend in the right direction, beating the San Francisco Giants in the first two games of the series, but are 43-44 and 8.5 games back in the National League Central. The Cardinals have continually said that they are a second half team and indeed, they have enough talent to catch the Milwaukee Brewers. But it’s going to take an all-hands-on deck effort, no pun intended, to catch them — and O’Neill will be a significant part of that.
They took a risk not putting O’Neill on the injured list, where he would have missed the minimum amount of time. But he was scratched from Tuesday’s lineup with a severe allergic reaction to food and, god willing, should be fine to return before the All-Star break. They need him. Badly.