Posted on August 2, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine

St. Louis Cardinals Aledmys Diaz

Image via ESPN.go.com

Just when it looked like the St. Louis Cardinals were about to get healthy and be in position to make a serious playoff push, the Red Birds get hit with another injury. The Cardinals placed rookie shortstop Aledmys Diaz on the 15-day DL Monday night with a broken thumb.

Diaz was struck in the hand by a fastball from Andrew Cashner during Sunday’s loss to the Miami Marlins. He was removed from the game, but fterwards the Cardinals were confident that his absence would be brief once x-rays showed there were no broken bones. However, a follow-up x-ray with a hand specialist taken Monday revealed a hairline fracture of the thumb, prompting the Cardinals to place Diaz on the DL.

The Cardinals have not placed a timeline on Diaz. However, St. Louis GM John Mozeliak hints that Diaz will be out longer than 15 days. “I think what we’ll do is put him on [the DL] and then just re-evaluate him as we go,” Mozeliak said Monday. “He’s been put in a splint today, and once the swelling goes down, he’ll be put in a cast. At some point, we’ll re-evaluate. Obviously, we’re hopeful that it will be shorter rather than longer.”

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Losing Diaz is yet another big blow to the Cardinals lineup after he emerged out of nowhere to become the everyday shortstop in St. Louis this season. Diaz is currently hitting .312 with 14 home runs and 25 doubles, helping to give him an OPS of .894 and making him one of the top candidates for Rookie of the Year in the National League.

If there’s a silver lining to Diaz going on the DL, it’s that the Cardinals are planning to activate both Jhonny Peralta and Brandon Moss from the DL on Tuesday when St. Louis begins a series with the Cincinnati Reds. Peralta will be returning from his second DL stint of the season, also for a thumb injury. Peralta originally hurt his thumb during spring training, which created the opening at shortstop for Diaz and forced Peralta to move to third base when he made his season debut in June. The Cardinals now expect Peralta to return to shortstop while Diaz is out.

The Cardinals also expect Matt Carpenter to return from the DL later in the week. Carpenter began a minor league rehab assignment on Sunday, and with Peralta at shortstop for the time being, Carpenter will be able to play either third base or second base when he returns, depending on whether or not St. Louis wants second baseman Kolten Wong to shift back to the outfield.

The upcoming return of Peralta, Moss, and Carpenter is making it easier for Mozeliak to handle the injury to Diaz. “Obviously, we were very disappointed to learn of Diaz’s injury, but when you think of where this club was going to be tomorrow with getting two of our everyday players back healthy and then obviously getting Carpenter back at the end of the week, there was a high level of optimism,” Mozeliak said Monday. “We still have that, but certainly, losing Diaz did not help that.”

The Cardinals have done well to weather the storm amidst a slew of injuries, as they are just a half game out of the second wild card spot. St. Louis has survived the absence of Peralta, Moss, and Carpenter, and while losing Diaz is a significant setback for their playoff hopes, the return of other players should help the Cardinals endure the loss of their shortstop.

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