The Cardinals have placed left-hander Kwang Hyun Kim and outfielder Justin Williams on the 10-day injured list, manager Mike Shildt told reporters. Kim left his start last night due to lower back tightness, while Williams is dealing with a stiff neck. Righty Angel Rondon (as reported earlier today) and first baseman John Nogowski have been called up from Triple-A to fill the roster spots.
A similar back problem sidelined Kim during Spring Training and kept him from making his 2021 debut until April 17. The 32-year-old’s second Major League season has been pretty solid, as Kim has overcome some lackluster peripheral numbers to post a 4.05 ERA/4.25 SIERA over 40 innings of work. Kim’s current injury doesn’t seem as serious as his earlier injury, Shildt told MLB.com’s Katie Woo and other reporters, so the team is hoping a minimal 10-day stint will correct the issue.
A quick return from Kim would certainly help a St. Louis rotation that is already without Jack Flaherty and Miles Mikolas due to injuries. Johan Oviedo is slated to start today, and Shildt said that Rondon will be used as a long reliever for the time being. The Cardinals have off-days on both Monday and Thursday this week, so if Kim is indeed only out for 10 days, the team might not need a replacement starter at all.
Injuries in the outfield have led to a lot of playing time for Williams this season, as he has appeared in 51 of the Cardinals’ 58 games. Williams is hitting only .160/.270/.261 in 137 plate appearances, and when combined with some below-average defense, Williams has been a sub-replacement level (-0.8 fWAR) performer. Prior to this season, Williams had appeared is only four MLB games over parts of two seasons with St. Louis and Tampa Bay.