Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar leaves Monday’s game with back spasms

St. Louis Cardinals' Lars Nootbaar (21) is checked on by manager Oliver Marmol (37) and Alec...
St. Louis Cardinals' Lars Nootbaar (21) is checked on by manager Oliver Marmol (37) and Alec Burleson, left, after being injured during the third inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Monday, May 29, 2023, in St. Louis. Nootbaar left the game. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)(Jeff Roberson | AP)
Published: May. 29, 2023 at 2:55 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - On the same day Oli Marmol described a “standstill” in the rehab for Tyler O’Neill, it appeared that the Cardinals might lose another member of their starting outfield to injury.

When Lars Nootbaar crumpled to the turf after attempting to chase down a ball in the right-center field gap in Monday’s third inning at Busch Stadium, it certainly didn’t look good for the 25-year-old outfielder. He spent a few moments with the athletic trainer before gingerly walking off the field, exiting the game with the type of injury that seemed like it could cost him a stint on the injured list, at a minimum.

Although that possibility has not definitively been avoided, the Cardinals announced Nootbaar’s removal from the action Monday was due to lower-back spasms rather than anything more nefarious pertaining to the lower body. A team official stated that Nootbaar’s status is day-to-day.

On the play in question, Nootbaar pursued the fly ball by Nick Pratto into the right-center gap and pulled up awkwardly before reaching it, collapsing to the ground in a way that suggested the potential for any number of soft tissue, tendon, or ligament injuries. But a back issue for Nootbaar makes sense considering that in the previous inning, he took a hard fall up against the center field wall on a leaping grab to take extra bases away from Michael Massey.

The residual effect of that impact may have shown up at an inopportune moment to make a minor injury appear more sinister. We’ll see what more the team has to say about Nootbaar’s status at the conclusion of the game on Monday.