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Cardinals notebook: Bader may not be ready until after All-Star break

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Chicago Cubs vs St. Louis Cardinals

Harrison Bader (48) jokes with his teammates as he waits to take his turn at bat during a game between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Sunday, June 26, 2022. 

The Cardinals should have a better read in the next few days on the injury status of two-thirds of their starting outfield. But while manager Oliver Marmol is hopeful, he has suspicions that center fielder Harrison Bader, out with plantar fasciitis, might not be back in the Cardinals’ lineup until after the All-Star break, which is just more than a week from now.

Marmol doesn’t expect Gold Glover Bader to ever be pain free with the ailment but wants him to be as close as he can be so that Bader still can be explosive in the field and on the bases and not compromise his swing.

“I’ve had (plantar fasciitis),” said Marmol, who said, in essence, that it was an uncomfortable experience, especially when getting up in the morning.

Bader’s game — he has 15 stolen bases — depends on his feet. “I hate putting a timetable and (them) reading about it because then they just can cling to it,” said Marmol. “I don’t want that to be in anybody’s head, but if I had to bet...”

It would be later than sooner.

Where Marmol is a little more optimistic but still unsure is the condition of left fielder Tyler O’Neill’s bruised right wrist, plunked by a pitch on Wednesday during a minor league rehabilitation game for Memphis.

“I honestly don’t know,” said Marmol of O’Neill. “Yesterday, he said he felt a lot better as the day went on. So, on Monday, they’ll give us a really good reading on what they’re anticipating. I hope that it’s not until after the All-Star break.

“At the beginning of yesterday, I was saying that might be the case.”

Donovan ill, Edman resting

The Cardinals’ two most versatile players were out of the lineup on Saturday. Brendan Donovan, who had started the past 15 games, didn’t even come to the park as he was reported ill. Tommy Edman, one for his last 22 and in a “funk, while hitting left-handed,” said Marmol, also began the game on the bench, so rookie Nolan Gorman took his first leadoff assignment.

Corey Dickerson (strained left calf) came off the injured list to play left field, Edmundo Sosa was at shortstop and Lars Nootbaar was in right field.

Nootbaar had a double for one of the Cardinals’ two hits in a 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Slumping catcher Andrew Knizner, who had been nothing for 12, had a single for the other hit.

Edman entered the game as a pinch hitter in the eighth and flied out.

Dickerson seeking new attitude

Dickerson said he had been fighting himself mentally both during his sporadic performance earlier in the season and then his stop-and-start rehabs as he would aggravate his calf muscle when he tried to play.

“When an injury takes a little longer, it’s hard to be patient,” said Dickerson before the game. “I’m kind of grateful for it. I think you’ve got to learn from things — failure or injuries. I learned a lot during this time I had off.”

Dickerson said that during his down time, he had tried to “improve myself mentally. I wasn’t enjoying the game as much at first. It wasn’t as fun to me because I felt I could do more and I was trying harder instead of relaxing more and enjoying the game more.

“Sometimes, you have to snap yourself out of it. It’s more roles and trying to fit in, trying to get your footing and timing. When they don’t go your way, it tends to be frustrating instead of having a light-hearted mindset and focusing on doing all that you can.

“To have that kind of off my back and chest — success or failure — I think I would go at it differently this time.”

Marmol said, “He was pressing a little bit, wanting to impress and show that he belonged and could contribute to this club. Hopefully, he can come back, relax, know he belongs and can contribute.”

Dickerson hit two homers in his last three at-bats before being hurt in Chicago in early June. He was nothing for three with a walk on Saturday but hit the ball with some authority.

“All three of my swings were good,” he said. “All three were just a tick — a centimeter — from being really hit hard or leaving the ball park.”

Dickerson lined out once and flied out twice, including making the final out in the game.

Capel sent out to make room

Marmol admitted it was a tough call between Conner Capel and Nootbaar as to who would have to go back to Memphis when Dickerson was activated from the injured list. Marmol cited Nootbaar’s clubhouse presence and how he would be used, compared to Capel.

Capel was three for 17 with a homer and played well in the outfield but Marmol said he had been impressed with the left-handed hitter.

Hicks to see late innings; could he open?

Marmol, who used Jordan Hicks to get out of the seventh inning Saturday, said Hicks would be used more often in late innings as the season goes along.

He said Hicks likely wouldn’t return to the rotation after having command issues and a forearm flexor problem but didn’t discount the fact Hicks could serve as an “opener.”

“I’ve looked at it and there’s opportunity for it,” said Marmol.

For Goldschmidt, All-Star week is about the people

This will be Paul Goldschmidt’s seventh All-Star Game. Having been chosen by the fans this year, Goldschmidt, speaking after Friday’s 2-0 loss, said, “It’s a little bittersweet but I appreciate it. There’s so many great players out there.”

And, Goldschmidt is looking forward to meeting many of them in Los Angeles in about 10 days. “Those are my best memories — all the guys you get to meet,” he said. “A lot of guys you’re competing against and you get to be on their team for a couple of days. You get to talk to them and you get to know them as people.

“Obviously, the game is fun. But, by far, my favorite thing is hanging out in the locker room and taking batting practice with them.”

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