Cardinals Activate Gregerson, Option out O’Neill

photo: Luke Gregerson (Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

From St. Louis Cardinals media relations

Luke Gregerson (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

Prior to today’s game (Saturday, May 4), the St. Louis Cardinals activated RHP Luke Gregerson from the 10-day Injured List and optioned OF Tyler O’Neill to Memphis (AAA).

Gregerson, who hasn’t pitched in a Major League game since July 25, 2018 in Cincinnati, has recovered from a right shoulder impingement, which caused him to miss the first 32 games of the 2019 season. He made 11 minor league rehab appearances posting an 0-0 record with a 1.64 ERA between Palm Beach (A), Springfield (AA) and Memphis (AAA).

O’Neill has appeared in seven games with 10 at-bats since returning from the Injured List on April 26.

Brian Walton’s take

Tyler O’Neill (Steve Mitchell/Imagn)

The Cardinals had a choice whether to send down a reliever and continue with a five-man bench or go back to an eight-man pen. They picked the latter.

The relievers on the St. Louis roster with minor league options have all performed well – John Brebbia, Giovanny Gallegos, Dominic Leone and Tyler Webb. The latter also serves as the second lefty in the pen behind Andrew Miller.

It will be interesting to see what role Gregerson plays among the Cardinals relievers, a group that has been effective to date in 2019. One might expect that despite the full 30 days of rehab, he will be eased into action carefully.

Instead of optioning out a pitcher, the choice was then between position players O’Neill and infielder Yairo Muñoz. Considering both O’Neill’s long-term importance to the Cardinals (a potential 2020 replacement for Marcell Ozuna in left field) and his recent struggles, sending him down to play every day for Memphis seems the right move at this time.

While his slash line with St. Louis this season is a so-so .263/.282/.395/.677, O’Neill has taken some undisciplined swings in recent at-bats. Specifically, he is striking out at a 46.2 percent rate while walking in just 2.6 percent of his 39 plate appearances.

Memphis already had an open roster spot following the trade of catcher Francisco Peña to San Francisco, so no further moves are required.

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