Ozuna undergoes scope of right shoulder
ST. LOUIS -- During a previously scheduled visit with orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday, Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna underwent a cleanup procedure on his right shoulder designed to address an impingement and lingering inflammation.
President of baseball operations John Mozeliak confirmed the surgery took place and relayed that Dr. ElAttrache is "optimistic and confident Marcell will begin Spring Training at 100 percent." That would be an improvement over his status last spring, when Ozuna reported to Jupiter, Fla., bothered by the same nagging shoulder pain. Ozuna played through that discomfort all season.
Though the Cardinals did not anticipate Ozuna requiring offseason surgery, Mozeliak did acknowledge the possibility when revealing that Ozuna would visit Dr. ElAttrache late in October.
It was ElAttrache who examined Ozuna in August and recommended the left fielder receive a cortisone injection to temporarily alleviate some of the pain that put Ozuna on the disabled list for 10 days. He returned and hit .306/.355/.551 with a .906 OPS over his final 25 games.
As Ozuna returned home for the offseason, the Cardinals challenged him to put in the strength and conditioning work necessary to heal that ailing shoulder.
"If he's diligent and puts himself in a position to prepare and have himself in a place where his shoulder is not preventing him from playing at his full potential, then I think the sky's the limit for him," Mozeliak said earlier this month. "When you talk about where he should hit in the lineup, there were moments this season that he looked every bit the ideal cleanup hitter, and there were times when you were frustrated.
"I think that's baseball. For me, I'm still pretty excited about what he brings to the table, but I think I would leave my last sentence to this statement open, because the next four months matter for him."
The effects of a compromised shoulder were evident all last season. Ozuna's arm strength on throws from the outfield has steadily decreased over the last four seasons to the point where he ranked last in the Majors in 2018 according to Statcast™ data. Ozuna also noted that the shoulder inflammation compromised him at the plate last year, particularly when it came to trying to hit pitches on the inside part of the plate.