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Cardinals’ O’Neill again on the injured list

This time it’s a hamstring injury keeping the talented St. Louis outfielder out of action. O’Neill had previously missed time from late May to early June due to a shoulder injury.
St. Louis Cardinals' Tyler O'Neill, right, slides safely into home plate as Boston Red Sox's...
St. Louis Cardinals' Tyler O'Neill, right, slides safely into home plate as Boston Red Sox's Christian Vazquez, left, waits for the ball in the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, June 19, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)(Steven Senne | AP)
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 7:25 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Just when he was starting to hit his stride in the St. Louis lineup, Cardinals’ outfielder Tyler O’Neill has another hitch in his giddy-up⁠—or more accurately, in his hamstring.

O’Neill suffered an injury in his left hamstring on Sunday in a Cardinals’ loss to the Red Sox. It was clear that something had gone awry for O’Neill when he rounded the first base bag on a ninth-inning hit. As he limped the rest of the way into second base for a double, you got the feeling that it would be his last playing action for some time.

The Cardinals confirmed that premonition by placing O’Neill on the injured list ahead of Monday’s series opener in Milwaukee. Lars Nootbaar has been recalled from Memphis to take O’Neill’s place on the active roster.

The injury comes at an unfortunate time for O’Neill, who had accumulated six hits across his last two games and had put together a strong couple of weeks since returning from a shoulder injury that had him on the IL from mid-May through earlier this month.

O’Neill’s first stint on the injured list occurred amid a slow start to the season for the two-time Gold Glover and top-10 finisher in last year’s NL MVP voting. This time, though, O’Neill’s trip to the IL comes just as he had settled into a groove at the plate.

In 13 games since his return from the IL on June 7, O’Neill had compiled a .354 batting average and .905 OPS to improve his season-long OPS more than 100 points, from .552 to .653. O’Neill’s numbers in June were in line with the ones he put together in a breakout campaign offensively a year ago.

Given his recent hot performance, the Cardinals are hoping O’Neill’s time on the shelf is limited to the minimum 10-day IL stay⁠—though with soft tissue injuries like this one, recovery time can often be difficult to project.