Tyler O’Neill is back on the injured list, as the club put him on the 10-day IL before this evening’s contest with the Brewers due to a left hamstring strain. Lars Nootbaar was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to take his place on the active roster, while utilityman Brendan Donovan kicked out to left field for tonight’s game.
The team didn’t provide a timetable for O’Neill’s recovery. It’s the latest in what has been a very disappointing season for the slugging outfielder. He lost a couple weeks in May battling a right shoulder impingement, and he’s not been as productive as anticipated even when healthy. Through 185 plate appearances on the season, the 26-year-old (27 on Wednesday) owns a .241/.292/.361 slash with only four home runs. That’s on the heels of a 34-homer campaign, and O’Neill’s had a rather startling dip in batted ball quality (barrel rate, hard contact rate, etc.) to go along with the lesser results.
Donovan figures to step in fairly regularly in left in O’Neill’s absence. The lefty-hitting rookie has a .315/.424/.434 mark through 170 plate appearances. That relatively quiet excellence has earned him a spot in the regular batting order, although manager Oli Marmol has had to shuffle Donovan around the diamond with Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Gorman, Tommy Edman and Nolan Arenado serving as the primary infield.
Nootbaar and the righty-hitting Juan Yepez will likely also cycle through the corner outfield and designated hitter. Veteran Corey Dickerson was signed to a one-year deal over the offseason to play a similar role, but he’s been out for a couple weeks with a calf strain. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that Dickerson felt continued discomfort after a rehab appearance in Memphis last Thursday, causing him to transition to non-game activities for a few days. The hope is he could resume the rehab stint as soon as tomorrow.
Dickerson would be joined by Jordan Hicks, who is set to start a rehab assignment of his own there tomorrow (relayed by Katie Woo of the Athletic). Hicks has missed the past three weeks with a forearm strain in his throwing arm, the latest issue for a pitcher who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019 and missed two months with elbow inflammation last season. It’s a welcome development that Hicks is set to return to the mound in relatively short order this time around.
Woo adds that the club is planning to deploy Hicks out of the bullpen. The flamethrowing righty worked exclusively in relief for the first few seasons of his major league career, spending a chunk of the 2018-19 seasons as the club’s closer. He surprisingly lengthened out into a starter this year and cracked the season-opening rotation, making his first seven big league starts (in nine outings) before landing on the IL.
Hicks had a rough showing in that role, though, posting a 5.02 ERA through 28 2/3 innings. He’s struck out a decent 23% of opponents while racking up grounders on more than half the batted balls against him, but he’s also struggled significantly to throw strikes. Hicks walked almost 16% of batters faced, and the club seems set to transition him back to his more familiar relief role.
That could suggest Andre Pallante is ticketed for a longer look in the rotation. The rookie right-hander opened the season in the bullpen, but he’s started three of his four most recent appearances. Pallante, who started in college and in the minor leagues, reached 5 2/3 innings yesterday against the Red Sox — suggesting the Cards are comfortable with him turning lineups over at least twice in an outing.
The rest of the starting staff is established, with Jack Flaherty, Miles Mikolas, Dakota Hudson and Adam Wainwright making a strong top four. Offseason signee Steven Matz is on the IL with a shoulder injury, but Pallante seems to be settling into the #5 role. Former first-round pick Zack Thompson is also on the active roster and has worked as a starter this season with Memphis, but it appears the club views him as a primary relief option at the major league level for now. Marmol indicated this afternoon that Thompson could see more higher-leverage work moving forward (via John Denton of MLB.com).
Man, I really hope Hicks can make a comeback, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to read a follow-up article about him going right back to the IL. I can’t recall anyone in recent years, who throws like Hicks, going to the IL for a forearm strain & not having TJS.
At least they’re putting him back in the BP. Guys who throw 102mph sinkers aren’t really designed to be SPs by nature. There are exceptions to every rule, however.
Cap & Crunch
Cardinals are in such a great spot moving forward; short and long term
I feel they are just pushing any thoughts of guys like Dejong Reyes or Hicks being major contributors farther and farther to the back of their brains. They really seem to make hay churning those 27-32nd players on the 40 man roster.
They are going to be a fun team to watch in free agency next winter. Buncha fluidity at the bottom of the roster , major capital, and few major holes to fill. That’s ideally how you want to enter the unforgivable market they call free agency
the front office and their pitiful manager will figure out a way to screw it up
“Fun to watch in free agency next winter.” Do you keep up with the cards?
yes, stan, since 1967
Was responding to Cap.
It can be just as hard or harder to come out of the bullpen for a pitcher.
And Seattle takes the lead in the Gonzales for O’Neill trade swap winner!
There’s going to be a Lars Nootbaar Fan Club. And a bobblehead doll.
And a candy bar, of course, called a Nootbaar… or maybe a Lars Bar.
Not sure why. He is not a MLBer by a long shot.
Exactly. You have to make it to the MLB first. Wait . . .
Hi person that takes figures of speech literal how are you today? Yes obviously he is in the majors and yes he even has an outfield assist and a homerun today but he should not be in the majors and its doubtful he will ever become someone who should be in the Majors.
They could definitely use a healthy and effective Hicks in the bullpen. Wittgren and verHagen are batting practice pitchers and T.J. McFarland hasn’t been any better. I still don’t understand why Jake Woodford hasn’t been give more of an opportunity.
They probably paid those guys more money than Woodford and don’t want to admit the mistake. That seems to happen a lot.
Unfortunately, I believe you’re exactly right.
I really thought that fifth rotation spot is Liberatore’s to lose
Cardinals need to go ahead and give Burleson a shot. He’s tearing it up for Memphis…
I think that would require a corresponding 40 man roster move which is why they haven’t done it yet
dickerson is available for dfa
Time to call up someone from Memphis to light up the league!
Not good news for O’Neill, seemed like he was just starting to find it. Hopefully they put Hicks back in the bullpen, seems like where he’s the best at. Donovan has been so clutch for the Cardinals this year
O’Neill, seemed like he was just starting to find it.
Not a big fan of O’Neill, but he has his moments. Picked him up off of waivers on two teams, and felt like a genius, you know, for about two days. Still worth the investment. Maybe the IL trip will encourage someone else to get tired of waiting.
He plays GG defense and was batting.355 after returning from the IL. He is and excellent player.
At some point the Cards are going to have to make a decision on what to do with Paul DeJong. He isn’t really tradable unless he proves he can hit at the big league level. Now would be the best time to give him a shot. Gorman hasn’t really done anything to get himself sent down, but he probably could use a little more fine tuning. They could send him down until the AS break and showcase DeJong for a month. Keeping him at Memphis any longer doesn’t accomplish anything.
That’s easier said than done since someone already at the majors who is producing would need to sit in order for DeJong to showcase himself. Meanwhile the Cardinals are hunting a playoff spot and cannot afford dead spots in the lineup.
I agree Nottingham – they still have DeJong under contract for next year, so if no injuries this year warrant his call-up, then trade him in the offseason if he keeps up his solid AAA work. His contract of $9 million next year will prevent much return, but maybe a lottery ticket will pay off, like Yepez did when we got him for Big City Adams.
oli must go
Gallo for DeJong if NY brings in another OF’er.
Honestly this makes a ton of sense for both teams. Maybe they would take Dickerson too if we take all of gallos contract and throw in a low level prospect
Too much weightlifting, not enough stretching.
too bound up to stretch
Cards need to do what the CWS did with Kopech last year…they both throw 100mph and the CWS had Kopech in low leverage innings pitching the 5th/6th until he proved himself. As the season went on he became the guy that came in during the 6th/7th to bridge the gap to the closers. Hicks just needs a defined role and confidence.
Tyler O’Neil, Alex Reyes, and Jordan Hicks all should have been traded years ago, but the cardinals take after their slow and mentally challenged fans
Wow that was super unnecessary and hurtful. Attack management and players but never go after fans of a team. Don’t be a pest on this site.
Unnecessarily harsh, and also incorrect for at least O’Neill and Reyes, who respectively had 34 HRs and 29 saves last year. But thanks for your opinion, mr. hindsight who sees all future injuries…. no guarantee whoever they acquired by trading them wouldn’t get hurt similarly.
@JimmyForum I’ve been to a lot of baseball stadiums and I’m not a Cardinals fan, but I’ve spent time in STL and have been to Busch Stadium probably 2 dozen times. Their fans are some of the most loyal, knowledgeable and respectful to visiting fans that I have experienced. Hindsight is always 20/20, but you can’t predict injuries to young players. One things for sure though….it’s easy for us to see the stupidity in a poster comments.
Never been there, but that’s about as good as it gets. The Cubs, Red Sox, and maybe the Yankees to a different degree. I never see a StL game, winning or losing, good weather or not, that they don’t fill the stadium with a sea of red. Kudos to them.
and some stadiums have more cardinals fans than the home team
The Cardinals have a good top 3 Starters, not a strong top 4 with Hudson. He is terrible. Matz maybe could make it a solid top 4 but Hudson is awful.
Is he awful though? I’m not a fan of his but he’s got a pretty good size sample of IP to determine that he’s terrible, and he’s still getting mid rotation results. He BBs too many for sure to be elite, but you’d think that regression would have bit him a lot harder than it has to date. Still sporting ERAs in the low to mid 3s. I think he definitely gets some benefit from the defense behind him, but it’s not enough to explain his success. I think he just induces a lot of weak contact and gets a lot of groundballs to allow him to get in and out of trouble routinely.
He’s not awful,he needs to do what he was doing the other night, if you get behind,just through a fat looking sinker down the middle and let the defense take over.
While the era is solid for sure, he struggles to get through 5 on a routine basis. He is getting worse not better, calling him awful was a stretch for sure especially since I usually avoid the hyperbole. but his walks are devastating often times. This season in particular he has been a net negative in my opinion. The regression has been pretty projectable for awhile. There are very few pitchers like him with such a low k rate+high bb rate that are productive for very long. .