ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill was not in the starting lineup Wednesday, a day after his baserunning effort was questioned by manager Oliver Marmol.
O’Neill was thrown out by Ronald Acuña Jr. at the plate with two outs and the Cardinals trailing 4-1 in the seventh inning Tuesday night. St. Louis lost the game by the same score. Marmol took issue with O’Neill’s turn around third as he attempted to score from second on a Brendan Donovan pinch-hit liner to right.
Marmol, who declined to specify whether starting Dylan Carlson in center field rather than O'Neill was tied directly to Tuesday's play, doubled down on his criticism before Wednesday's series finale against the Atlanta Braves.
“There’s going to be a style of play that we are known for,” Marmol said. “And it’s going to involve effort. And it’s gonna involve being relentless. It’s gonna involve being smart. And we’re going to keep guys to that. Because that’s how you sustain being good for a long time.”
Marmol also said there were good players “in the clubhouse and down below. And I love competition.”
O’Neill told reporters Wednesday was a scheduled day off and still contends he was hustling on the play.
“I definitely didn’t feel like I was going slower you know coming around third base,” O’Neill said. “I was focused on taking a tight turn and you know it is what it is. I went back and ran the replay and I ran the clock, I think it was second to home in about 6 1/2 seconds.
"So, I don’t necessarily know what big league average is or whatever that’s categorized as, but that’s what I got myself at. ... again, it was a heck of a throw and its good baseball play on their part.”
O’Neill, who came into Wednesday's game as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and flew out to center, also said he wished the matter would have been handled internally.
“I got up through the minor leagues and into the big leagues playing hard and playing scrappy, and, you know, that’s who I am,” O’Neill said. “That’s my character. ... these conversations definitely could have been had in-house and not gotten out on the loose like they have, should have been handled a little differently in my opinion, but you know, who’s to say?”