Posted on July 25, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine

St. Louis Cardinals Dexter Fowler

Image via chicago.suntimes.com

With time running out to make their move in the playoff race, the St. Louis Cardinals have lost another outfielder to injury. The Cardinals placed center fielder Dexter Fowler on the 10-day DL Tuesday with a wrist injury. It’s Fowler’s second trip to the DL in a little over a month. St. Louis has called up outfield prospect Harrison Bader to take Fowler’s place on the roster.

Fowler’s injury is described as both a left wrist strain and a forearm strain. He played on Monday but was double-switched out of the game. The severity of the injury is not yet known. But it’s bad enough for the Cardinals to put him on the DL right away without giving him a day or two to heal. Fowler also missed nearly two weeks in late June and early July with a heel injury.

Fowler will join Stephen Piscotty on the DL. Piscotty is currently dealing with a groin strain. The Cardinals only recently got Randal Grickuk back from the DL, so the health of their outfield has been an issue lately. The Cardinals have used both Jose Martinez and Magneuris Sierra to supplement their outfield depth this season.

Reports out of St. Louis indicate the club has been hoping to call up Bader. However, they were hesitant to do so because they weren’t sure he would get regular at-bats. With Fowler going on the DL, that’s less of a concern, allowing the club to bring up Bader, who is ranked as the no. 6 prospect in the team’s farm system, according to MLB.com.

Bader was a 3rd round pick in the 2015 draft and has quickly moved through the minors. He reached triple-A at the end of last season and is having a standout season in a return to that level this year. In 97 games, Bader is hitting .297 with 19 home runs and 18 doubles, helping him produce an OPS of .871.

Despite having Tommy Pham available to slide over to center field, it appears the Cardinals will have Bader play center field. Pham will remain in left field with Grichuk in right field, at least until either Fowler or Piscotty returns from injury. Martinez remains with the Cardinals as the club’s fourth outfielder.

The Cardinals are hopeful that Piscotty will be able to return from the DL soon. However, there’s no word on how long Fowler will be out. On the surface, his injury doesn’t appear too serious. But with Fowler being plagued by a heel injury this year, there’s less certainty as to when he’ll return. Fowler has been up and down this season and struggled to get it going after returning from his first stint on the DL. On the season, he’s hitting just .242 but has a healthy OPS of .785.

A steady stream of injuries to the St. Louis outfield has made it difficult for the Cardinals to get on a roll and make a move in the playoff race. The Cardinals began Tuesday four games out of first place in the NL Central, but with three teams to jump over. Losing Fowler to the DL for the second time in a month adds to those injury woes. It also makes it imperative that Bader hits the ground running upon making his big league debut on Tuesday.

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