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Paul DeJong’s return to game action for Cardinals is uncertain after back issue flares again

JUPITER, Fla. — Monday afternoon Tommy Edman will start his second game at shortstop since returning to the Cardinals from the World Baseball Classic, but the shortstop Edman supplanted may have moved closer to starting the regular season on the injured list.

Paul DeJong had been slated to return to the lineup on Tuesday, one week after the Cardinals scratched him from the lineup due to back tightness. Instead, manager Oliver Marmol said that DeJong had “a little bit of a setback.”

DeJong’s back “tightened up” when taking ground balls on Monday morning, Marmol said. The expectation was that DeJong may not play this week, but Marmol still needed to meet with the club’s medical staff before he’d make any decisions on the plan going forward for DeJong.

A former All-Star shortstop, DeJong seemed the likely backup shortstop to start the season. That’s now in doubt with the back issue lingering. The Cardinals had Brendan Donovan start at shortstop in recent days, perhaps a clue to how they may handle the infield depth if DeJong begins the season on the IL.

Not having DeJong active to start the season could also open a roster spot for a borderline candidate such as Alec Burleson to break camp with the club.

Outfielder Tyler O’Neill still has not appeared in a game since he rejoined the club after playing for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic. He dealt with a stomach bug over the weekend, and he’s getting an extra day or two before he gets back into Grapefruit League games.

Relief pitcher Andre Pallante is scheduled to pitch an inning on Wednesday, Marmol said. Pallante had been with Team Italy for the WBC, and he appeared in three games during the tournament.

Cardinals right-hander Jake Woodford makes his fifth appearance (second start) of Grapefruit League play on Monday, and he’ll face a Miami Marlins lineup that looks close to a preview of their Opening Day lineup.

Woodford enters the day having allowed four runs on eight hits and four walks in 12 2/3 innings. He has struck out 11 and held opponents to a .190 batting average. Three of the four runs he allowed came in his previous outing against the Houston Astros on March 14.

Here are today’s lineups:


1. Brendan Donovan, 3B

2. Tommy Edman, SS

3. Jordan Walker, RF

4. Willson Contreras, C

5. Nolan Gorman, DH

6. Juan Yepez, LF

7. Dylan Carlson, CF

8. Taylor Motter, 1B

9. Masyn Winn, 2B

Starting pitcher: Jake Woodford (RHP). Other pitchers listed as available: Genesis Cabrera (LHP), Anthony Misiewicz (LHP), Jordan Hicks (RHP), Drew VerHagen (RHP), Logan Gragg (RHP), Hancel Rincon (RHP).


1. Luis Arraez, 2B

2. Jazz Chisholm Jr., CF

3. Jorge Soler, LF

4. Garrett Cooper, DH

5. Avisail Garcia, RF

6. Jean Segura, 3B

7. Yuli Gurriel, 1B

8. Joey Wendle, SS

9. Austin Allen, C

Starting pitcher: Daniel Castano (LHP).

Lynn Worthy

@LWorthySports on Twitter

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