Cardinals Forced To Switch It Up In the Outfield; Starter Heads to IL

There were plenty of trade rumors over the offseason, but that vaunted St. Louis Cardinals outfield depth is already coming in handy. The Cardinals have lost one of their starting outfielders to the injured list, as 25-year-old Lars Nootbar is still unable to go due to a hand injury.

Nootbar jammed his thumb on opening day last Thursday sliding into 3rd base, and hasn't been back in the lineup since. Originally, the thumb didn't bother him when gripping a bat over the weekend, but when he tried to do so again during batting practice today, it was obvious to the Cardinals that some time was needed on the IL with what's being called a "thumb contusion."

Nootbar had 14 home runs and an OPS+ of 126 last season as he emerged as a starter in the St. Louis lineup. He became a folk hero in Japan during the World Baseball Classic, becoming the first foreigner to play for that country. 

Juan Yepez, who had a nice start to his rookie season last year, with 11 home runs in his first 62 games, has been recalled from Triple-A to take Nootbar's spot on the Cards' roster. He was squeezed out during spring by the electric performance of rookie Jordan Walker, but Yepez will now rejoin the mix along with Dylan Carlson, Tyler O'Neill and Walker. 

Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports