I write this piece as a 'personal view' to those who have held little faith that St. Cardinals LF Marcell Ozuna 'has done any rehab' following his shoulder surgery late October 2018. And, that Cardinals President of Baseball Operations, John Mozeliak, has not even taken the time to check on him.
I call B.S. to those who think so little of our Cardinals organization and that of Ozuna. Why would a player, going into his last contract season before becoming a free agent 'NOT" rehab after surgery? "NOT" plan to return fully healed? To cut his own nose off to spite his face? Why would an exemplary organization 'ignore' such a valuable player? BUNK.
Cardinals left-fielder did have his surgery performed in California. He remained there to begin his rehab and posted rehab progress on Instagram. He did not chose the conventional travel to Jupiter FL to the Roger Dean Complex. Therefore, yes, the Cardinals medical team has not had 'hands-on' observation to his progress, nor scheduling of his therapy/rehab.
However, to all those who have held both in such ill-regard, Marcell Ozuna is 'on track' with rehab. Cardinals John Mozeliak visited with him this past Monday for a few hours and Ozuna "took several rounds of batting practice" while 'Mo' was present. Encouraging news for Mo and the Cardinals. Ozuna will begin throwing in February. So, yes, Ozuna, his personal plan, to be ready for the upcoming season.
Per John Mozeliak (Jenifer Langosch, MLB):
"Happy to report he is looking strong, working hard, and will begin his throwing program in early February," Mozeliak said a day after the meeting.
"The Cardinals will monitor Ozuna's throwing throughout Spring Training, but they do expect the outfielder to build up quickly enough to be full go by Opening Day."
In the meantime, Ozuna is scheduled to be in the Dominican Republic to participate in Sunday's graduation ceremony at the Cardinals' complex in Boca Chica.
"Cardinals DR Academy honor first graduates" reported by Jenifer Langosch, MLB.
Quite the honor for Ozuna, but also the young players who have been part of this program which the Cardinals organization put into place three years ago.
OZUNA - 2018
Even though two time All Star Marcell Ozuna admittedly was dealing with a shoulder issue last season, as players do, tried his best to 'play through the discomfort'. Definitely not his 2017 season - Golden Glove and Silver Slugger season with 37 HR/124 RBI for a .312/.376/.548/.924 slashline. Even though, he was able to slug out a .280 BA but decreased OBP/SLG/OPS - .325/.433/.758 respectively.
It was his fielding which really 'took a hit'. He finished last, per Statcast, "among qualifying outfielders in average velocity of his max effort throws."
OZUNA - 2019
Ozuna is 'projected' to only have 24 HR/84 RBI/.279 BA/.336 OBP/.466 SLG/.802 OPS in 2019 by Baseball-Reference.
In my opinion, Ozuna will be on a mission to be above and beyond those numbers this coming season. I believe we will see his numbers closer to that of 2017. And, as expected, he is to be clean-up in the line-up again this season.
I just can not imagine he wants to repeat 2018 in any way, shape or fashion. OR, be less than. Not in a season going into free agency in 2020. He and the Cardinals agreed on his last arb-eligible contract, $12.250 M. I feel - monies well spent.
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