Cardinals prioritize defensive flexibility, send down Lars Nootbaar

Lars Nootbaar was the odd man out in the Cardinals outfield, as he showed very little of the offensive prowess necessary to get playing time in a crowded group.

Let’s be real — Nootbaar was always considered an outlier in an outfield group that contains the likes of Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Carlson and Harrison Bader.

It doesn’t help that in seven games this season, Nootbaar was hitting a very pedestrian .125 with just a single RBI. He failed to provide much of the offensive prowess St. Louis would expect from him were he to be an everyday player.

This, in a sense, is why he was sent down. To replace Nootbaar, the Cardinals called up Brendan Donovan, who has been an intriguing story at Triple-A Memphis. He also plays four positions — third base, second base, left field and first base — in the minor leagues.

Cardinals: Lars Nootbaar sent down in favor of Brendan Donovan

Nootbaar wasn’t providing the steady defense or plate discipline required to get a spot on a major-league roster, so the Cardinals sent him down to figure things out in Memphis. There’s a very good chance he could end up back in the bigs in a short period of time, when St. Louis needs him. Too many reliable players is a good problem to have.

Donovan is 25 years old and was the team’s eight-round selection in the 2018 MLB Draft. In Triple-A, he’s batting .298 with a home run, six RBI and three doubles through 16 games.

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