Cardinals activate Nootbaar from injured list

St. Louis Cardinals' Lars Nootbaar, center, celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo...
St. Louis Cardinals' Lars Nootbaar, center, celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the Cincinnati Reds in the fifth inning of a baseball game in Cincinnati, Wednesday, May 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)(Jeff Dean | AP)
Published: Jun. 19, 2023 at 1:36 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - After a robust day on a rehab assignment, Cardinals outfielder Lars Nootbaar is ready to return to the St. Louis lineup.

Nootbaar slugged two home runs in a four-hit day with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds on Sunday to prove his readiness for getting back to the show. The 25-year-old outfielder had been on the IL with back spasms since late May. He was activated from the injured list Monday in time for the series opener against the Nationals in Washington D.C. First baseman Luken Baker was optioned to Memphis in a corresponding move.

In 184 big-league plate appearances on the season, Nootbaar has a .770 OPS that has been buoyed by a strong .380 on-base percentage. Cycling through various options all year, the Cardinals have been searching for consistency in the outfield and are hoping that Nootbaar can provide some of it upon his return.

Cardinals manager Oli Marmol has Nootbaar slated to bat in the three-hole on Monday, sandwiched between Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado as a left-handed bat to offset the two slugging right-handers. It’s a role that had been previously filled by Nolan Gorman, but the infielder’s struggles of late have forced a move down in the lineup for the young infielder.

Nootbaar’s return has squeezed Dylan Carlson back to the bench for Monday as Paul DeJong remains entrenched at shortstop, keeping Tommy Edman in center field.