As the St. Louis Cardinals look to turn their season around, outfielder Lars Nootbaar is a major part of their offensive plans. However, those plans have come to a halt for the Cardinals after Nootbaar's worrisome injury against the Kansas City Royals.
Nootbaar was forced to leave St. Louis' Monday contest against the Royals after going down while chasing a ball in the gap. Nootbaar was removed from the game and replaced by Oscar Mercado. Ultimately, Nootbaar was diagnosed with lower back spasms and listed as day-to-day, via John Denton of MLB.com.
#STLCards Lars Nootbaar left today's game injured. He walked off under his own power after injuring his leg on this play.
Replaced by Oscar Mercado in CF. pic.twitter.com/jlUq4v1XLs
— Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) May 29, 2023
Heading into Monday's game, Nootbaar had appeared in 41 games in 2023. He is hitting .268 with four home runs, 21 RBI and five stolen bases. Nootbaar is third on the Cardinals in batting average among qualified hitters. Furthermore, he ranks second in on-base percentage (.383) and fifth in OPS (.775).
St. Louis is still trying to dig themselves out of the early season hole they put themselves in. With their 24-31 record, the Cardinals are currently fourth in the NL Central. They've gone an even 5-5 over their last 10 games.
Losing Nootbaar would be a major speed bump in a year full of problems for the Cardinals. St. Louis currently ranks sixth in runs scored (271), eighth in OBP (.331) and 14th in batting average (.256). While the team knows they could always improve, their offense has been solid despite their struggles.
But Lars Nootbaar has been an important piece of that offensive prowess. Taking him away from the mix is an overall hit in the entire Cardinals lineup. St. Louis will know in the coming days how severe Nootbaar's injury is. The fact he was able to walk off the field should give them at least a little hope.