Posted on May 18, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
The injuries are coming fast and furious for the St. Louis Cardinals. The latest player added to the DL is starting shortstop Paul DeJong. The Cardinals placed DeJong on the 10-day DL on Friday with a broken left hand. DeJong suffered the injury in the 8th inning of Thursday’s loss to the Phillies when he was hit by a pitch from Luis Garcia. With reliever Matt Bowman also going on the DL on Friday, the Red Birds have placed seven players on the DL in the last 10 days.
At this time, the Cardinals don’t have a specific timeline for how long DeJong will be sidelined. Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said DeJong will undergo surgery on Friday. Afterward, the team will take things week by week. But a broken hand figures to require at least four to six weeks of recovery time.
DeJong is in good company on the St. Louis DL. Catcher Yadier Molina is already there after needing emergency surgery earlier this month. Molina’s replacement Carson Kelly was added to the DL a couple days ago. Cardinals ace Carlos Martinez and veteran started Adam Wainwright are also on the DL. Relief pitchers Luke Gregerson, Tyler Lyons, and Dominic Leone are also on the shelf. Needless to say, it’s a lot of injuries for a team in the middle of a hotly-contested division that includes four teams within 2.5 games of one another.
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One could argue that DeJong is the most significant injury aside from perhaps Martinez. After an impressive rookie campaign, DeJong has avoided a sophomore slump. He’s currently hitting .260 with eight home runs, helping him post an OPS of .824. To be fair, those numbers are slightly down from last season. But it’s not as if DeJong has seen a sharp drop off in his productivity. He’s also become a more sound defensive player in his second big league season.
“Huge disappointment,” Mozeliak said of the injury to DeJong. “He was having a very good year for us. Making a lot of positive adjustments at the plate. From a defensive standpoint was really holding up his own. Unfortunately, that’s the kind of season we’re having. We’re definitely dealing with these speed bumps as they come. The morale and how we have to approach it is that next man up mentality and see what it takes us.”
On the bright side, the Cardinals have several possible options to replace DeJong. Versatile infielder Jedd Gyorko should see a majority of the playing time at shortstop. He’s hitting .290 with an OPS of .930 in a part-time role this season, playing third base whenever Matt Carpenter moves to first base or second base. Greg Garcia is also a capable shortstop who’s having a nice offensive season. Yairo Munoz, who took DeJong’s spot on the roster, could also see time at shortstop.
Of course, mixing and matching several viable replacements is different from having DeJong in the lineup every day. The Cardinals are likely to be without DeJong for at least a month, probably more. In a division as tight as the NL Central, every injury could end up being the difference between making the playoffs or not. With the loss of DeJong piled onto all of the other injuries the Cardinals have experienced this month, St. Louis is definitely hurting in more ways than one right now.