Injuries & Moves: Carlson activated; Yepez to Triple-A

7:52 PM UTC


June 5: OF (left ankle sprain) activated off 10-day injured list; RHP Jake Woodford (right shoulder irritation) activated off 15-day IL and optioned to Memphis; OF Juan Yepez optioned to Triple-A
Carlson, who has been out since May 14 with an ankle injury initially deemed to not be serious, was activated off the injured list and available to play in the three-game series against the Reds, which starts tonight. Carlson is in Friday night’s starting lineup and hitting ninth. To make room on the active roster, was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.

Carlson’s return is welcomed with the Cardinals still missing outfielders (low back strain) and (back spasms). Former Gold Glove second baseman has spent the past week filling in in center field. Carlson sprained his ankle on May 14 when his cleat caught in the dirt as he left the batter’s box on a single to right field at Fenway Park.

Carlson played three games with Triple-A Memphis this week to prepare for his return. Woodford was placed on the 15-day IL on May 5, and he proceeded to make three rehab starts with the Triple-A Redbirds.

June 4: 1B Luken Baker promoted to the Cardinals from Triple-A; C Tres Barrera designated for assignment
As expected, the Cardinals promoted the 6-foot-4, 280-pound Baker -- the International League leader in home runs (18) and RBIs (53) -- on Sunday morning. Barrera, who said his goodbyes in the Cardinals clubhouse on Saturday night, was designated for assignment.

Baker, 26, toiled in the Minor Leagues for all or parts of five seasons. The Houston native was the 75th pick of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Cardinals, who used a compensatory selection on the first baseman. A career .257 hitter in the Minor Leagues, Baker has hit .313 this season by becoming much more selective at the plate. He hit a career-best 26 home runs in 2021 and added 21 in '22. This season, he has 11 doubles to go with his 18 homers -- which ties him for the MiLB lead -- and he has nearly as many walks (43) as strikeouts (53).

Barrera, who was promoted to the Cardinals on May 6, appeared in just six games and batted twice in recent weeks as the team’s third catcher behind Willson Contreras and Andrew Knizner. One of the team’s most popular players despite his lack of playing time, Barrera was greeted by almost every one of his teammates after word quickly spread that he had been waived by the franchise following the Cardinals' 4-3 loss to the Pirates on Saturday.


10-day and 15-day IL

OF (lower back strain)
Likely return: TBD
Still bothered by persistent back pain, O’Neill underwent more testing and was advised to cease all baseball activities for 10 days. Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said there were “no new findings” with the testing. After the period of rest, O’Neill will resume light running and swinging drills, Marmol said. (Last updated: June 2)

INF (quad strain)
Expected return: Several weeks at the earliest
Fermin, who has a spot on the 40-man roster and was acquired this offseason in a trade with the Guardians, is expected to miss multiple weeks with a quad strain. When asked if the injury was deemed significant, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said, “Yeah, I would say so. Running down to first [on March 4], when he came out of the game, he strained his quad. I don't want to put a timetable on it, but when we all hear the word ‘strain,’ we all know what that means.” (Last updated: March 6)

60-day IL

LHP Packy Naughton (left forearm strain)
Expected return: Expected to return by mid-June
Naughton, who was forced to leave the April 7 loss to the Brewers in the eighth inning with numbness in his left arm, was shifted from the 15-day injured list to the 60-day IL.

Naughton, who did not allow an earned run while striking out five in five innings pitched this season, recently threw a second bullpen session at Busch Stadium. Once the Cardinals deem him ready, Naughton is expected to go out on a Minor League rehab assignment. (Last updated: May 17)

RHP (right shoulder pain)
Expected return: 2024
Rodriguez, a Rule 5 Draft selection from the Yankees who was supposed to contend for a spot in the Cardinals' bullpen, had season-ending surgery on his right shoulder on May 3, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. The 33-year-old Rodriguez isn’t expected to be able to resume throwing for 4-to-6 months following the arthroscopic procedure.

Rodriguez appeared in seven Spring Training games, but he opened the regular season on the injured list because of recurring shoulder pain. He made three appearances with Triple-A Memphis, but pain eventually returned in his shoulder. (Last updated: May 3)