The commencement of the 2019 season is just 49 days away. There are a lot of question marks surrounding one particular player entering the upcoming season.
Marcell Ozuna is the biggest question mark heading into the 2019 campaign. After having a down year in his inaugural season with the Redbirds, mostly due to his clear shoulder issues, he had a shoulder procedure done early in the offseason to rectify it. He should be ready to go full force into next season. Although, he may end up having some limitations, or not be prepared for Opening Day.
At the Cardinals Winter Warmup, President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak inferred in his statements that he was not aware of Ozuna participating in his scheduled offseason rehab, and even some angst. The following day, Ozuna, with unmatched timing, began posting videos of him working out on Instagram. The next week, Mozeliak went down to the Dominican Republic to meet with Ozuna and check up with him on his offseason workouts. Upon returning from the trip, the Cardinals’ executive said he felt optimistic about what he saw, and that Ozuna will begin hitting and throwing next week.
Fans are still speculating about his actual readiness heading into the season. It is not out of character for Ozuna to be lax on offseason rehab or training. When Ozuna was acquired last offseason, St. Louis was aware of his shoulder issue, but felt that, with rehab, it could be alleviated. However, the outfielder was not able to resolve the issue, and played all of 2018 without being able to throw even half of how well he was able to previously. His inability to follow his rehab schedule is what many blame for his issues.
A free-agent at season’s end, 2019 is a make or break season for Ozuna on many fronts.