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Two Key Cardinals Players To Start Rehab Assignments

Two key St. Louis Cardinals players are scheduled to start rehab assignments in the organization this week. Catcher Willson Contreras has been out of the lineup since May 7 when a swing from J.D. Martinez fractured his arm. Outfielder Tommy Edman hasn’t played at all this season after having wrist surgery in October.

Two Key Cardinals Players To Start Rehab Assignments

“We are still banged up. Especially from an offensive standpoint,” said Cardinals President of Baseball Operations on KMOX radio on Sunday. “Hopefully with Contreras going to start a rehab assignment this week, we’re very encouraged with how he looks. Then we’re going to have Tommy Edman spend some time in Jupiter this week just to get a lot of different reps from a baseball standpoint. Hopefully, get Lars [Nootbaar] back by the end of the month.”

Contreras could Be Just A Week Out

When Contreras broke his arm and required surgery, it looked like he’d be out until mid-July. He will begin a rehab assignment in Triple-A or Double-A this week, just about five weeks removed from the injury. Contreras told reporters over the weekend he doesn’t think he’ll be in the minors rehabbing for long.

“I’ve been on a rehab assignment before and I’ve never played more than three or four games, and it will just be a matter of timing,” Contreras said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s in the Minor Leagues or in the big leagues; it will just be about working to get my timing back, and I think it will come back quickly.”

Contreras was slashing .280/.398/.551 before the injury. He was one of the Cardinals most dangerous hitters. He’s also in the top 13 percentile of the league in caught stealing, above average at +2.

Edman Moving In The Right Direction

Edman has been a fixture on the Cardinals for the last several years. He slashed .248/.307/.399 in 2023. The switch hitter also won a Gold Glove award in 2021 as a second baseman and was a finalist for the award as a utility player in 2022 and ’23. Edman split his time evenly in 2023 between three positions: shortstop, second base, and outfield. The Cardinals expect him to play center field when he returns.

“It’s just how he feels and his confidence in pushing himself physically. You don’t want to have one step forward and two back because that’s just not directionally how you want to do it,” Mozeliak said on Sunday.

Edman will join the Jupiter Complex team and then Palm Springs Single-A. The team plans on ramping him up slowly as he hasn’t been able to swing the bat much during his recovery from wrist surgery.”

“We’re talking a very conservative approach to this, but as he’s been ramping up his baseball activity over the past week, week and half his confidence level has been rising, Mozeliak said. “Now it’s really going to be getting the reps to get his timing back. He hasn’t faced live pitching since last September, so we have to recognize that.”

Nootbaar Still Aiming For Late-June Return

Another outfielder, Nootbaar, has had two IL Stints this season. One to start the year and another when he strained his oblique on May 29. Nootbaar slashed .234/.337/.404 in 39 games he’s played in 2024. On Sunday, Mozeliak hinted that Nootbaar could return soon.

“A lot of things are getting closer from seeing that everyday club we envisioned back in the offseason, Mozeliak said. So I think once we see that we’ll have a better gauge on where we are from an offensive standpoint.

Nootbaar has been on the IL five times in the last two seasons. When healthy, he’s a spark plug in the offense. Mozeliak has repeatedly said he wants to see the team fully healthy before he makes a trade to add another bat to the lineup.

Main Photo Credits:  Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports


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