COVID-ravaged Cardinals slated to return to field Saturday in Chicago

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FILE – In this July 24, 2020, file photo, members of the St. Louis Cardinals wait to be introduced before the start of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in St. Louis. The Cardinals 4-game series against the Detroit Tigers was postponed Monday, Aug. 3, 2020, after more Cardinals players and staff staffers test positive for COVD-19. The series was to have been played in Detroit from Tuesday through Thursday. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

ST. LOUIS (WTVO) — The St. Louis Cardinals, who last played July 29 in Minnesota before being benched by an outbreak of COVID-19, are expected to return to action Saturday in a doubleheader against the Chicago White Sox.

The team’s President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak confirmed Thursday that an additional staff member had tested positive, bringing the total to 18, including 10 players. That staff member has been in quarantine.

Mozeliak confirmed that reinforcements would be coming from the team’s alternate site in Springfield, including top prospect, outfielder Dylan Carlson, and pitchers Seth Elledge, John Nogowski, Ricardo Sanchez, and Rob Kaminsky. Sanchez is likely to be designated as the team’s 29th player for Saturday’s doubleheader.

Mozeliak said coach Jose Oquendo will also join the team from Springfield and is expected to fill in as the third base coach.

Carlson’s elevation to the majors was always with the caveat that when he arrived, he would play. Outfielders Lane Thomas and Austin Dean are among those who have tested positive for coronavirus, and through five games, center fielder Harrison Bader has struggled at the plate. With a slew of doubleheaders necessary for the team to catch up, Carlson figures to have plenty of opportunities to play.

The Springfield reinforcements are expected to take a bus to Chicago, while the remainder of the traveling party will drive themselves, by themselves to the Windy City.

Mozeliak said pitcher Austin Gomber would be placed on the injured list after contact tracing identified him as potentially at risk for COVID, although he stressed that Gomber had not tested positive.

Mozeliak added that while it’s now been weeks since Yadier Molina, Paul DeJong, and others first tested positive, that group of players have not yet passed through the testing protocols needed to be clear to return to baseball activities, and are not expected to return to action while the team is in Chicago.

Mozeliak expects Major League Baseball to announce schedule updates on Friday.

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