Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna underwent what is being described as a clean-up procedure on Tuesday in an attempt to eliminate the persistent tendinitis and inflammation in his right shoulder. SiriusXM’s Craig Mish reported the news first:
St Louis Cardinals OF Marcell Ozuna is having a shoulder clean up procedure today in Los Angeles with Dr. Neal ElAttrache. Will be full go for Spring Training in February.— Craig Mish (@CraigMish) October 30, 2018
Ozuna admitted that the shoulder injury bothered him during the entirety of the 2018 season — and he even spent time on the DL in late August to rehab the injury and receive a cortisone injection — but president of baseball operations John Mozeliak indicated at the team’s season-ending press conference earlier this month that he didn’t think surgery was likely.
Ozuna is heading into a contract year, and he’ll need to step it up in 2019 after posting a somewhat disappointing .280/.325/.433 slash line with 23 homers in 628 plate appearances while seeing his defensive performance drop off significantly. It was a sharp drop-off for Ozuna from his 2017 season in Miami, where he hit .312/.376/.548 with 37 homers in 613 PAs and won a Gold Glove in left field. He’ll play a major role in trying to help the Cardinals get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015, and if he can’t bounce back, St. Louis will likely have a hard time moving past the Brewers and Cubs in a strong NL Central.
While Mish says Ozuna will be ready to go again by the beginning of spring training, this development seemingly will hinder his offseason training program, which could be create problems heading into next season if the 27-year-old was affected by more than just the injury (i.e., conditioning issues or a mechanical flaw at the plate) in 2018.