Cards place Oviedo on IL, activate Dean

September 10th, 2020

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals’ roster shifted again Thursday when the club placed rookie right-hander on the injured list after he came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said before Thursday’s doubleheader against the Tigers at Busch Stadium.

Oviedo has been removed from the team and is self-isolating. He has not tested positive, nor has he showed symptoms, Mozeliak said, but Oviedo will continue to test daily and quarantine. He was originally scheduled to pitch Sunday, but Mozeliak said that’s now unlikely.

The Cardinals are hopeful Oviedo can start Monday, which would open up Sunday’s start for .

“Fingers crossed that he won’t [test positive],” Mozeliak said. “But obviously, given our experience with this, given what we know about it, the smart thing to do is to make sure he self-isolates and has contact with no one.”

Oviedo had contact with the individual on Tuesday, and that person tested positive Wednesday. Mozeliak said he doesn’t believe that Oviedo broke protocol during the exposure. The Cardinals have no concern that Oviedo brought the virus back into the clubhouse because he hasn’t been around the team since Tuesday.

“That’s the good news,” Mozeliak said. “No contact with the team. We’re not even remotely concerned about that. ... Fingers are crossed that he did not get it, but we have to be ultra-cautious given the sensitivity of what we’ve been through, and we’ve got to continue to try to keep playing baseball.”

Oviedo, 22, made his MLB debut Aug. 19 to help the Cardinals through the repercussions of a COVID-19 outbreak. Ranked as MLB Pipeline’s preseason No. 11 prospect, Oviedo remained in the rotation and made four starts, posting a 4.66 ERA with 11 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings.

The news forced the Cardinals to shift their roster around yet again, which has become typical this year as the club navigated the outbreak in August and now the current gauntlet of games -- including four doubleheaders in nine days, including Thursday.

“It’s really just normal now,” manager Mike Shildt said. “We haven’t been able to put together a rotation or a pitching schedule all year. As soon as we think the plan crystallizes, things change. That’s the nature of the game in general, but it’s in a little bit of warp speed now with the way things change. It’s just a continual puzzle that we have to put together on the fly.”

In a corresponding move, the Cardinals activated from the injured list. Right-hander served as the 29th man for Thursday’s doubleheader.

Dean has not been with the team since the COVID-19 outbreak; he was one of the players who tested positive in the second wave, when the team returned to St. Louis. He’s been at the alternate training site in Springfield, Mo., for the past two weeks and comes to St. Louis two days after the team sent outfielder Dylan Carlson to Springfield because there wasn’t going to be enough playing time for him.

“Just thinking about a) [Dean] was ready to go, and b) just trying to keep people fresh,” Mozeliak said. “The trick of the next couple weeks is keeping people fresh and energized. This is a really daunting schedule.”

“The reports have been real positive,” Shildt added of Dean. “Talked to [Jose] Oquendo yesterday, he’s swinging the bat well, and that creates opportunity to play any corner position. Bat off the bench, DH if there’s a spot available.”

Kim could join Cardinals on road trip
There’s a chance lefty could help the Cards at some point during their road trip next week through Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Kansas City, Shildt said Thursday. Kim threw again Thursday, and this time down to a catcher. He will progress to a bullpen session, likely over the weekend.

Kim is on the 10-day injured list after a kidney ailment hospitalized him when the team was in Chicago. He was put on blood thinners, which cause one to bleed more when cut or bruised, so the Cardinals want to be cautious with bringing him back to games. He is feeling much better, Shildt and Mozeliak said.

“The big thing is, we’re just trying to understand the risk proposition given the medication he’s on and being involved in a Major League game,” Mozeliak said. “That’s something internally we’ll work through.”

Worth noting
• Shildt earned his 150th career victory on Tuesday in the second game of the doubleheader against the Twins in his 266th career game.

“Anytime we think we have our roster set, something else changes, so I don’t even try to get out in front of the weekend yet. We’re day to day.” -- Mozeliak, on revamping his roster on the fly while also looking ahead