Dexter Fowler

St. Louis Cardinals' Dexter Fowler bats during an intrasquad practice baseball game at Busch Stadium Thursday, July 9, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

( -- The Cardinals are getting some roster reinforcements Monday, just in time for the final push for a spot in the playoffs.

The team announced it has activated outfielder Dexter Fowler and reliever Giovanny Gallegos from the injured list ahead of Monday's game against the Kansas City Royals.

Fowler had been out of action since September 2 as a precaution related to the potential impact of a medication he began taking for a stomach ailment. Because the medication presented a risk that Fowler would experience a compromised immune system, a dangerous possibility in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cardinals determined the best course of action was to keep him separated from the team. Because his situation presented increased risk, Fowler was eligible for the COVID-related injured list--which meant he did not count against the team's 40-man roster while on the IL--despite not having come in contact with the virus. As he comes off the list Monday, the Cardinals were forced into a corresponding 40-man roster move, designating reliever Roel Ramirez for assignment.

Fowler's return comes at an opportune time as the Cardinals seek more consistent production from their outfielders. John Mozeliak said Monday he believes Fowler is on the right side of his recovery from the ailment, allowing him, the team hopes, to "start where he left off," before hitting the injured list.

"He was taking a very high dosage (of his medication) when he first began and to be where we are today, I do think it's much more manageable," Mozeliak said of Fowler's health status. "(He's) almost through it. I think his risk is fairly minimal."

Fowler has produced to the tune of a .279/.347/.485 batting line this season, hitting four home runs with 14 RBIs in 75 plate appearances.

Gallegos, the presumptive Cardinals closer before being forced out of action, makes his return to the roster Monday after spending the minimum 10 days on the injured list with a groin strain. Throwing out the appearance in which Gallegos sustained the injury, he has performed well out of the St. Louis bullpen this season, with a 1.59 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 11.1 innings.

Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said Monday the team will still approach decisions related to its late-inning bullpen strategy and the closer role on a day-to-day basis. 

"The good thing about Gio is you can match him up against anybody," Shildt said. "It's good to have him back."

To make room for the return of the two core players Monday, St. Louis has optioned outfielder Justin Williams and reliever Nabil Crismatt to the Alternate Training Site in Springfield. 

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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