They're still here: Cardinals back after long virus absence

Sat Aug 15 1:04pm ET
By JAY COHEN
AP Sports Writer

St. Louis Cardinals' Paul Goldschmidt, right, talks with manager Mike Shildt during baseball practice at Busch Stadium Sunday, July 5, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


CHICAGO (AP) After weeks of uncertainty, John Mozeliak watched the St. Louis Cardinals drop off their rental cars and prepare for work. His cell phone was filled with encouraging baseball messages instead of questions of concern.

For Mozeliak, the club's president of baseball operations, it was a very good day.

''Today feels very much like opening day for the St. Louis Cardinals, and there's a lot of excitement right now in that clubhouse,'' Mozeliak said.

St. Louis returned to the field Saturday for the first time in 17 days after its season was derailed by a coronavirus outbreak. The Cardinals began the day having played all of five games this season.

The reigning NL Central champions were all clear for a doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox, kicking off an extended stay in the Windy City and a busy finish to the pandemic-shortened season.

The Cardinals had a much different look from the team that lost 3-0 at Minnesota on July 29 in their previous game. Star catcher Yadier Molina and infielder Paul DeJong were among 18 members of the organization with confirmed coronavirus cases, shaking up the roster and coaching staff.

Top prospect Dylan Carlson, first baseman John Nogowski, right-hander Seth Elledge, and left-handers Rob Kaminsky and Ricardo Sanchez were brought up from the team's alternate training site in Springfield, Missouri. Sanchez was designated the 29th man for Saturday's doubleheader.

Carlson, a switch-hitting outfielder, was selected by St. Louis in the first round of the 2016 draft. He hit .292 with 26 homers in the minors last year.

The Cardinals also placed left-hander Austin Gomber on the injured list. Gomber has not tested positive for COVID-19, but came up as a potential concern in contact tracing.

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