St. Louis Cardinals Former All-Star To Start Season On IL

The St. Louis Cardinals will be starting the season without one of their longtime infielders. A setback in a lower back injury crept in on Tuesday, forcing Paul DeJong out of the lineup, and likely to the injured list.

DeJong said the pain came while fielding a grounder. He said he can't flex or rotate his spine. He doesn't think he'll be able to play again before the end of spring training. 

For some fans in St. Louis, however, this doesn't feel like a huge loss for the Cardinals.

Indeed, DeJong hit .157 in 77 games with the Cards in 2022, with a .530 OPS, and his once-vaunted power dissipated to just six long balls. In 2021, he hit .197. This spring? .154, with two hits in 19 plate appearances. He's held his own in the field, however, with good defense backing up at short over the last couple of years. 

The 29-year-old was an All-Star in 2019, with 30 HR and 97 runs scored. But his effectiveness at the plate has been highly questionable since then.  It remains to be seen what, if anything, he can contribute to the Cards' cause in 2023. 

Photo: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports