JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Marcel Ozuna will be on a limited throwing program to start the spring but is expected to be ready for opening day, manager Mike Shildt said Saturday.
Ozuna underwent offseason shoulder surgery and is still in the rehabilitation process.
“Just making sure that he’s being stretched out, healthy and moving forward,” Shildt said. “But his program has been nothing but positive feedback, has been great, and he’s feeling good.”
St. Louis acquired Ozuna in a trade with Miami before the 2018 season. He had 37 homers and 124 RBIs in 2017. Hampered by a lingering shoulder injury, Ozuna hit .280 with 23 homers and 88 RBIs for St. Louis last season.
Ozuna will serve mostly as a designated hitter once Grapefruit League play begins. He’ll be eased back into left field as the spring schedule progresses.
Shildt isn’t at all worried that the slugger won’t be ready when the Cardinals open the season at Milwaukee on March 28.
“Hasn’t caused me (to lose) a wink of sleep,” Shildt said.
St. Louis is showing similar caution with catcher Yadier Molina, who underwent offseason knee surgery. Molina isn’t catching bullpens and probably won’t appear behind the plate until a couple weeks into Grapefruit League play.
Like Ozuna, Molina will likely DH for the first few weeks of spring games.