Cardinals promote Óscar Mercado, Carlson hits IL

St. Louis Cardinals' Dylan Carlson is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo home run...
St. Louis Cardinals' Dylan Carlson is congratulated by teammates after hitting a solo home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)(Jeff Roberson | AP)
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 1:16 PM CDT|Updated: May. 17, 2023 at 3:29 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - After Cardinals outfielder Dylan Carlson sprained his ankle Sunday in Boston, it’s been a waiting game to see whether the injury was severe enough to land him on the injured list.

With the ability to backdate an IL stint a maximum of three days, Wednesday became decision day on Carlson’s status. The St. Louis Cardinals confirmed in the afternoon that Carlson would be on the 10-day IL, retroactive to May 15. The Cardinals also announced they selected the contract of outfielder Oscar Mercado and promoted him to the active roster Wednesday.

His addition required a 40-man roster move, which came as Packy Naughton was transferred to the 60-day injured list.

The news of Matthew Liberatore’s arrival that was reported Tuesday also became official as the lefty will start for St. Louis Wednesday night against Milwaukee. Reliever James Naile was optioned to Memphis to make room for Liberatore on the active roster.

With Carlson’s stay on the IL likely to be a relatively brief one and Tyler O’Neill probable to make his way back toward the active roster sometime soon, a recall for top prospect Jordan Walker was apparently not yet in the cards; when the Cardinals bring Walker back, they likely will want to have an everyday role available to him in the St. Louis lineup.

Walker’s outfield defense was suspect in his time with St. Louis to begin the season, rendering him as an ill-fitting direct replacement for Carlson, anyway. A similar case could be made for why the Cardinals do not appear to be promoting slugging outfielder Moises Gomez for Carlson’s spot, despite his presence on the 40-man roster.

Mercado is a former second-round draft pick of the Cardinals in 2013. St. Louis dealt him at the 2018 trade deadline to Cleveland, where he racked up nearly all of his 941 plate appearances in the big leagues. Mercado owns a career batting line of .235/.289/.388 in MLB and rejoined the St. Louis organization this winter as a non-roster invitee to spring training.

His athleticism and defensive versatility are intriguing elements for a Cardinal roster that has been depleted in the outfield in recent weeks.