St. Louis Cardinals: Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Carlson closer to returning

Tyler O'Neill of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Tyler O'Neill of the St. Louis Cardinals reacts. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill and Dylan Carlson are getting closer to returning off the Injured List as they begin their minor-league rehab assignments.

Entering the regular season, both St. Louis Cardinals manager Oli Marmol and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak went on the record and stated their belief in the offense.

They felt the offense was their most underrated unit on their team and perhaps the most underrated in baseball. While the Cardinals rank tied for sixth in runs (242), it has felt like the offense has largely underwhelmed this season.

Both Tyler O’Neill and Dylan Carlson struggling have been a primary reason for that. Each are on the Injured List now and if they return at a level close to what they produced in 2021, the Cardinals could very well have the best offense in baseball.

And they’re each getting closer to returning, as O’Neill is beginning a rehab assignment in Triple-A while Carlson wills tart his rehab assignment in Double-A. O’Neill figures to return before Carlson, who shouldn’t be that far behind barring a setback.

Getting O’Neill going has to be the Cardinals’ top priority. He can singlehandedly change their offense, as evidenced by his .286/.352/.560 slash line with 34 home runs and 80 RBI last season. He entered 2022 as a darkhorse MVP candidate, only to post a .195/.256/.297 slash line with two home runs and 20 RBI.

While O’Neill is not out of the MVP race, it will take a major push in the next 115 games to get back into that conversation. But what he can do is get the Cardinals past the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central — and considering that they enter Friday only three games back, that’s plenty attainable.

And he’s getting closer to returning to the field to do just that.

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