Spring training has been a stressful affair for the St. Louis Cardinals, who were dealt more bad injury news on Friday. According to Cards president John Mozeliak, Lars Nootbaar suffered fractured ribs in a recent game. That puts his availability for Opening Days in doubt.

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Nootbaar’s ability to swing the bat for the next 10-14 days will be based on “pain tolerance,” per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. While he is not ruled out for Opening Day, the Cards don’t want to make the break worse. So, that “doubt” is very much prevalent. St. Louis opens the regular season on March 28, the start of a three-game road series with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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St. Louis has already suffered injury setbacks with Sonny Gray and Tommy Edman. Nootbaar is pegged as the Cardinals’ everyday starter in left field, with a chance to either bat leadoff or in the middle of the lineup. The 26-year-old was rock solid last season, slashing .261/.367/.418 with 14 home runs and 46 RBI in 426 AB.\

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The 2023 campaign was an overwhelming disappointment for the Cardinals. This offseason has been focused on bouncing back, with the Cards’ front office engineering several bold additions — especially on the pitching front. With injuries creeping into the equation, however, the cracks in St. Louis’ depth chart are already starting to show.