The Cardinals have placed outfielder Tyler O’Neill on the 10-day IL due to a right groin strain, the team announced. Since righty Jake Woodford was optioned to the alternate training site after yesterday’s game, the two open roster spots were filled by outfielder Lane Thomas and right-hander Johan Oviedo.
O’Neill suffered the injury during an at-bat in yesterday’s 9-5 loss to the Brewers, coming out of the batter’s box moving slowly after hitting a grounder. He was replaced in the field the next inning. Manager Mike Shildt told reporters (including Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) that O’Neill might only be out for the minimum 10 days, saying that the young outfielder received “Favorable news from an imaging standpoint….Probably a three to four day (situation) before he can get in there. We didn’t want to play short for three or four days.”
The IL stint could possibly act as something of a reset for O’Neill, who has hit only .143/.172/.286 with a league-high 14 strikeouts over his first 29 plate appearances of the 2021 season. Strikeouts have been a persistent issue during O’Neill’s four MLB seasons, and his overall production at the plate has trailed off considerably since a promising 2018 rookie season. On the plus side, O’Neill won a Gold Glove for his defensive work as the Cardinals’ regular left fielder in 2020.
O’Neill joins Harrison Bader on the 10-day IL, leaving the Cards even more short-handed in the outfield. A veteran of 52 Major League games, Thomas will join the mix along with Dylan Carlson, Justin Williams, Austin Dean, and utilityman Tommy Edman (when Edman isn’t at second base). Minor league signing Matt Szczur is also on hand at the team’s alternate training site.