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Cardinals Marcell Ozuna on track. 'The Bear' will be Back. [Update/Correction]

Updated: Feb 21, 2019


St. Louis Cardinals LF Marcell Ozuna working out in Spring Training camp at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium. (Photos: Fox2Now/St. Louis & KMOX Sports)

On Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Shildt announced that RHP Carlos Martinez would be on a two week "no-throw" program/conditioning due to weakness in his right shoulder.


During a conversation, "my source" stated from "his source" that they wouldn't be surprised if Cardinals LF Marcell Ozuna began the upcoming season on the DL ~ which is now the "IL aka: Injured List".


I CALL IT A LOT OF "BUNK"


Ozuna did have surgery performed on his right shoulder ~ clean-up ~ this past December. He had been rehabbing in [California] and arrived at Roger Dean Chevrolet complex last week.


[Correction: Ozuna returned to his native Dominican Republic, after his surgery, where he began his initial rehab regiment versus the Cardinals facility in Florida. Per Brendan Tuma, Cardinals Correspondent]


Now, working with the Cardinals medical staff and trainers, with up close and personal observation so to speak, he 'is coming along nicely and on track' per President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak and manager Mike Shildt.


Cardinals fans witnessed a sluggish Ozuna with the Cardinals in 2018 compared to his previous season with the Miami Marlins. In 2017 he received both the Silver Slugger and Golden Glove awards, which neither per performance-wise was apparent last season with St. Louis. Especially in his fielding.


Stated in an article by KMOX news Ozuna is "105% from the plate and progressing well in his throwing program, per Mozeliak.


SPRING GAMES - DH - OZUNA AND MOLINA


However, in his continued work to stretch & strengthen the muscles in his shoulder post-surgery conditioning, Ozuna will be used as a designated hitter during early Spring games. As will be the case for Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (Knee surgery/Dec).


Both players have been cleared for all "work" - but, Cardinals will ease each back into the field.


"Mozeliak visited Ozuna last week when he was in the Dominican Republic [prior to Ozuna's arrival at RDCS] to attend the graduation ceremony of the Cards first Dominican Academy class. He says Ozuna was hitting balls over the fence "into a three-club wind," so he looked "105 percent" healthy from a hitting stand point."


I look for Ozuna's throwing capability to return to a strong arm defense in left field.


OZUNA IS GOING TO BE FINE


Therefore, it is my opinion, save stubbing his toe or a hang-nail, Marcell Ozuna will be all-around 100% ready for the upcoming 2019 season. I feel we will see "The Bear" of 2017 performance.


He's projected, by Baseball Reference - 148 Hits/24 HR/84 RBI with a .279/.336/.461/.802 slashline. With him looking at free agency in 2020, I strongly believe he will be closer to his 37 HR/124 RBI/.321 BA/.376 OBP/.548 SLG/.924 SLG he produced two seasons ago. With his new and improved shoulder, if feel the projection is definitely 'low-ball'.

Thank you for reading. You may also follow me on Twitter @elichap822.


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