The Cardinals could activate outfielder Lars Nootbaar from the injured list as soon as tomorrow, according to John Denton of MLB.com. Nootbaar, who has been on the IL since the beginning of the month with a lower back contusion, has slashed .266/.380/.390 in 184 plate appearances for St. Louis this season, good for a 118 wRC+.
As discussed by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Nootbaar’s return will create something of a conundrum for Cardinals manager Oli Marmol, who has moved Tommy Edman from shortstop to the outfield in recent weeks, a change the switch-hitter has taken well to. Goold suggests that the return of Nootbaar, who can play quality defense in all three outfield spots, would give Marmol the option to shift Edman back to the infield, with Nootbaar taking over center and Nolan Gorman spending most days at DH. Otherwise, Marmol could leave Edman in the center and use Nootbaar and Dylan Carlson in the corners while allowing Jordan Walker, who has struggled to adjust to outfield work after spending most of his minor league career on the infield dirt, to DH.
Whatever defensive alignment the Cardinals end up with, Nootbaar’s return figures to help boost the club as it struggles to stay relevant in the NL Central. Despite an abysmal 29-43 record leaving them 8.5 games back in the NL Central, St. Louis still has a 12.1% chance to make the playoffs, per Fangraphs, thanks to their weak competition in the division.
More from around the Central divisions…
- Royals left-hander Ryan Yarbrough is set to begin a rehab assignment in the Arizona Complex League tomorrow, per a club announcement. That’s fantastic news for not only fans in Kansas City, but all around baseball considering the circumstances of Yarbrough’s injury. The lefty was placed on the injured list in early May with multiple head fractures after being struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of Oakland slugger Ryan Noda. Prior to his injury, Yarbrough had struggled badly across ten appearances with the Royals, posting a 6.15 ERA and 5.17 FIP in 26 1/3 innings of work.
- Following today’s news that the Pirates are poised to promote 2021 first overall pick Henry Davis to the majors tomorrow, manager Derek Shelton told reporters, including MLB.com’s Justice delos Santos, that the club’s current catching tandem of Austin Hedges and Jason Delay would remain on the roster. With Pittsburgh planning to carry three catchers as Davis breaks into the majors, it’s worth wondering how the club plans to use Davis. While the youngster was drafted and has been used primarily as a catcher, he’s also started 15 games in right field over the past two seasons while mixing in starts at DH. Of course, the DH slot in Pittsburgh is largely occupied by Andrew McCutchen, leaving right field as Davis’s most likely home on days where Hedges or Delay start behind the plate. Connor Joe and Josh Palacios are currently manning right for the Pirates in a timeshare.