Reinforcements for the Redbirds: Cardinals activate Nootbaar, Helsley from the injured list

St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Ryan Helsley (56) delivers a pitch to the Texas Rangers...
St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Ryan Helsley (56) delivers a pitch to the Texas Rangers during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. The Cardinals won 1-0. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)(Jim Cowsert | AP)
Published: Sep. 1, 2023 at 5:38 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The Cardinals have added some roster reinforcements heading into their weekend series against the Pirates at Busch Stadium—and this time, it’s genuinely key pieces rejoining the active roster.

Flame-throwing reliever Ryan Helsley and everyday outfielder Lars Nootbaar have been activated from the injured list and will join the Cardinals for Friday’s series opener against Pittsburgh.

Helsley hasn’t been healthy and active for the Cardinals since early June as he has dealt with arm troubles throughout the summer. At least once during his rehab, Helsley needed to pause the process of working back from his right forearm strain due to lingering discomfort, so it’s good to see Helsley back with the club without a more serious medical intervention necessary.

Though Helsley had served as the primary closer before his injury, Oli Marmol indicated to reporters Friday afternoon that JoJo Romero can be expected to continue getting opportunities in the ninth inning moving forward.

To make room for Helsley on the 40-man roster after his stint on the 60-day IL, it’s now Brendan Donovan who moves to the 60-day IL. Donovan is out for the season after arm surgery.

Getting Nootbaar back should be a significant boost to a Cardinals lineup that was slumping prior to a couple of walk-off wins over the Padres earlier this week. Nootbaar’s .835 OPS is higher than sluggers Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt at this point in the season.

The Cardinals also activated Jake Woodford from the injured list Friday but optioned the right-hander to Triple-A Memphis. There, he will be able to get regular, consistent work down the stretch of the season instead of occupying a sporadic role in the St. Louis bullpen.