photo: Johan Oviedo via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
St. Louis Cardinals announcement
We have activated OF Austin Dean from the Injured List and placed RHP Johan Oviedo on the IL.
RHP Nabil Crismatt will serve as the 29th man for today’s doubleheader. pic.twitter.com/oCqtl8Ba5R
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) September 10, 2020
Brian Walton’s take
The Cardinals take another hit to their rotation at a time they can ill afford to lose another starter. The club has 23 games remaining to be played in the next 18 days.
The rookie Oviedo had recently settled into the rotation, taking the spot previously held by Daniel Ponce de Leon. Not a finished product, Oviedo has still been able to give St. Louis innings, averaging just under five frames in his four starts. The 22-year old has a 0-2 record with a 4.66 ERA with his most recent start having been Monday in Chicago.
Others with a starting background who may be asked to step in include Austin Gomber, Jake Woodford and Ponce de Leon, who started Game 2 of Tuesday’s twin bill before being returned to the Cardinals alternate camp.
Dean, 26, was part of the second wave of Cardinals COVID cases, going onto the injured list on August 15. The outfielder-first baseman was acquired in trade from Miami in the off-season as a depth player. Dean has yet to appear in a regular season game for St. Louis after performing well in spring training.
Dean is the second-to-last of the Cardinals 10 positively-tested players to return. Only Kodi Whitley, who subsequently developed an arm problem, is still out. However, Dexter Fowler is also on the COVID IL due to his high risk status while taking medication for a stomach ailment.
With Oviedo joining Whitley and Fowler on the special 2020-only IL, the Cardinals are continuing to carry 43 players on their 40-man roster.
Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak briefed the media prior to Thursday’s Game 1. He explained that after Tuesday’s twin bill, Oviedo came into contact with a non-team employee who later tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Oviedo has yet to show any signs or test positive, but has been placed in self-isolation. He will be tested daily. Mozeliak said that it is unlikely that the right-hander could pitch Sunday, but he could start Monday if his tests remain negative.
Because Oviedo did not come into contact with teammates after being around the positive individual, Mozeliak has “zero concerns about the rest of the club.” As such, they will remain on a normal every-other-day testing regimen. The PBO also said that Oviedo did not break protocol in any way.
Mozeliak provided updates on several other players as well.
Kwang-Hyun Kim – Doing really well. Still trying to understand risk proposition of him pitching in an MLB game (while taking blood thinners). No target return date was offered.
Dexter Fowler – Feeling better, but not close to return. However, he and team are optimistic that he can return in 2020.
Austin Gomber – No decision yet on the lefty starting after Thursday’s Game 2, but the need for starting pitching ahead is clear.
Manager Mike Shildt followed Mozeliak.
Carlos Martinez – He could start Sunday. Was thinking about him going Sunday or Monday before (Oviedo went on the IL).
Kim – Threw today to a catcher. Getting used to medication. Comebacker risk in games. Possibly could return during next road trip, but not even written in pencil yet.
Jake Woodford – Improvement has been with pitch efficiency. Able to throw strikes with breaking ball and let his defense play. Tough for young players to trust stuff in zone, but he is learning that.
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