St. Louis Cardinals Dexter Fowler Could Return Tuesday

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MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 20: Dexter Fowler #25 of the St. Louis Cardinals takes batting practice before the game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on April 20, 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

St. Louis Cardinals star outfielder Dexter Fowler could return as early as Tuesday, in the second game of their series against the Miami Marlins. This is encouraging news as it was thought that Fowler would miss significant time when he suffered a shoulder injury in Thursday’s loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. He left the game early when he was injured diving for a ball in center field. Fowler underwent an MRI, but the results were better than expected. Tommy Pham was recalled from Triple-A Memphis to fill in for Stephen Piscotty, who was placed in the 10-day disabled list after straining his hamstring in the same game. It appears Fowler has avoided the disabled list stint.

Fowler has not started in the last four Cardinals games. However, he did pinch hit in the team’s 16-inning win over the Braves on Sunday.

Cardinals Lose Dexter Fowler to Shoulder Injury

After winning the 2016 World Series with the Chicago Cubs, Fowler signed a five-year deal worth $82.5 million with the rival Cardinals. One of the off-season’s major acquisitions, Fowler was the Cardinals prized free agent, and appeared to be the perfect fit in St. Louis.  He added improved defense and base running, as well as a strong lead-off hitter to pace the team. Fowler’s addition to the top of the order undoubtedly strengthened the Cardinals lineup and kept them in the conversation to chase down the Cubs.

To this point in the season, Fowler is slashing .223/.302/.408 with four home runs and nine RBI. After a slow start to the season, he heated up right when the Cardinals did, jump starting the team’s climb back to .500. Defensively, he has been a big part of the effort to improve the outfield – one of the league’s most athletic with him in center field.

Going Forward

Losing Fowler could have been massive hit to a St. Louis team still finding its footing this season. Without him leading off, the Cardinals have looked to Kolten Wong to hit at the top of the order in recent games. While he has played well, there is no substitute for Fowler.

Pham has provided a viable replacement as an outfielder and with Jose Martinez also now on the DL, he is likely to stay with that team a little longer.

Some had thought that op-5 prospect Harrison Bader would get an opportunity if Fowler was out long term. Bader had a terrific Spring Training and has been great thus far in Triple-A, so he may not be far off from a promotion to the majors. However, its likely been put off at least a little longer.

This is a team that had a tremendous amount of injuries last season – a season which resulted in disappointment all around – so Fowler (as well as Piscotty) going down early brings back some sore memories for a team looking to bounce back this year. For now, though, the Redbirds will count their blessings that things did not end up as bad as was initially feared.

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