Cardinals notebook: Carlson and Matz injuries prompt multiple roster moves, continue to test depth | Cardinals of St. Louis


What has quickly become a test of their depth has so far also been a testament to how the Cardinals feel better placed to pull it off.

After both receiving additional medical evaluations after Sunday’s game, outfielder Dylan Carlson and left-hander Steven Matz went on the injured list on Monday and each is expected to miss at least two weeks. A tear has been discovered in Carlson’s left hamstring muscle which will sideline him for “every 10, 14 days”, manager Oliver Marmol has said. Matz was diagnosed with a left shoulder impingement and was placed on IL for 15 days.

The starter said he expected to receive an injection to treat the stiffness after resting for several days. He will also seek a second opinion from Dr. David Altchek, who reviewed Matz’s past shoulder issues.

“Nothing too serious and something we know is treatable,” Matz said. “A little wink. But we want to be sure it’s something we can get out of there pretty quickly.

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The two injuries sparked a series of roster changes, including the returns of outfielder Lars Nootbaar, who hit three home runs Sunday for Class AAA Memphis, and southpaw Matthew Liberatore. Liberatore had just been picked but could return without the required minimum stay due to Matz’s injury. Liberatore is likely to take Matz’s place in the rotation and start Saturday with Adam Wainwright shooting Thursday’s series opener against Milwaukee.

The Cardinals also went for pitcher Angel Rondon in Triple-A and promoted right-hander Junior Fernandez to ensure they had a fresh multi-inning arm in the bullpen. More moves are likely in the days ahead as Jake Woodford and Kodi Whitley, for example, become eligible to return to the majors – and keep their arms spinning fresh.

Because, as Marmol pointed out, they can with confidence this year.

“There was a little gap last year,” Marmol said. “We have guys who can contribute again. Feel good about it. It’s challenging, but far from devastating.

A year ago, a series of pitching injuries led to an innings slump in June and arguably cost the Cardinals their bid for the division title. This season, the Cardinals didn’t use the injured list for the first time until May 3, but have placed three players on it in the past three days, including two of their everyday starting outfielders.

Promoted in Monday’s trade wave, wide receiver Ivan Herrera will be the eighth Cardinal to make his major league debut this season, tying Oakland for the most at the majors.

“I feel like we have some depth that allows us not to skip a beat,” Marmol said. “There are several options (which) I feel like allowing us to buy time, which we feel good about putting out there.”

Molina is on the list of mourners

Yadier Molina returned home to Puerto Rico to be present when his son undergoes arm surgery Tuesday morning, a team official said Monday after the veteran receiver was placed on the mourners list. Molina’s son injured his arm while playing baseball and Molina asked for a plane ride home.

He is expected to join the team on Thursday.

Taking Molina’s place on the Toronto series roster is a glimpse of the future at the job: Herrera. The 21-year-old top catch prospect is expected to be part of the Cardinals’ tandem plans with Andrew Knizner for 2023 and beyond. Herrera hit .310 with an .898 OPS in 20 games at Class AAA Memphis this year.

Surgery for Reyes; O’Neill Update

All-Star closest Alex Reyes will undergo surgery to treat lingering pain related to the damaged labrum in his right shoulder, an official has confirmed. The decision came Monday after Reyes met with Los Angeles-based Dr. Neal ElAttrache. The team expected the result of Monday’s exam to be surgery scheduled soon. A frayed labrum has kept Reyes on the injured list since the spring, and the extent of the repair will determine whether he misses the entire season.

A scan of outfielder Tyler O’Neill’s right shoulder confirmed the impact that put him on the injured list. The left fielder will rest for several days and begin a rehabilitation process on Thursday that will likely lead to a stint in the minors. Marmol said he would like O’Neill to get at-bats in games before returning.

Rondon leaves an imprint

What rookie right-hander Rondon did in five innings on Sunday will have a lasting advantage this week, even if those same five innings meant he wouldn’t stick around to see it. Rondon’s five shutout innings meant he wouldn’t be available for several days, and because he had options, the Cardinals flipped the roster for a fresher arm.

The clubhouse made it clear to Rondon, a former pitcher of the year in the Cardinals organization, that he got the win on Sunday — and the stoppage to avoid a costly innings run.

“That’s what keeps you winning ball games,” Marmol said. “It got us to do well next week – or it could have been a cluster.”

Rondon, 24, has a 3.97 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings at Memphis, and he elevated his spot on the depth chart by showing Pittsburgh that his approach – “His ability to not not fight; he is going to throw strikes, not to dominate,” said Marmol – could get results.

Superlatives & Memories

Albert Pujols broke Stan Musial’s record for oldest Cardinal with two home runs in a game. Musial hit two homers on July 8, 1962, when he was 41 years and 229 days old. Pujols’ two-home run game on Sunday came at 42 years, 126 days. He is the 10th player in MLB history with a two-home run game past his 42nd birthday.

• A baseball used in the Cardinals’ May 15 victory game against San Francisco when Wainwright and Molina set the record for most wins per battery, at 203, has been salvaged and certified so it can be added to the permanent collection of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY This game also featured Pujols’ debut at pitcher.

• In Sunday’s 18-4 victory at Pittsburgh, 10 Cardinals had at least one hit, one run and one RBI for the first time in 131 National League seasons.


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