Cardinals CF Dylan Carlson to open season on IL after outfield collision with teammate Jordan Walker

Carlson ran into a lunging Walker at full speed near the warning track on Monday

MESA, ARIZONA - MARCH 25: Dylan Carlson #3 of the St. Louis Cardinals leaves the field after an apparent injury during the second inning of a spring training game against the Chicago Cubs at Sloan Park on March 25, 2024 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
A freak collision will leave the Cardinals even lower on outfield depth. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Dylan Carlson will begin the season on the injured list after a collision with a teammate during the St. Louis Cardinals' penultimate game of spring training.

The collision occurred against the Chicago Cubs on Monday, when Carlson and right fielder Jordan Walker converged on a deep fly ball from Cubs second baseman Nico Hoerner to the right-center-field gap. Walker took a lunge toward the ball, which placed him right in Carlson's path as he tried to run down the ball.

Carlson hit Walker at nearly full speed and took a hard fall into the warning track. He soon walked off the field with a trainer.

A day later, Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol told reporters that an MRI revealed Carlson had a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder and would begin the season on the 10-day injured list, per The injury will reportedly keep him out for several weeks.

The injury will leave the Cardinals with an even more shallow outfield after the unit was already going to be without Lars Nootbaar and Tommy Edman. Carlson had a down season last year while dealing with oblique and ankle injuries but was a decent bounce-back candidate for a team that needs a lot of bouncing back after going 71-91 last season.

Without Carlson, the Cardinals will reportedly call up 23-year-old Victor Scott II to cover center field:

“[Victor Scott II] is the starting center fielder,” Marmol said on Tuesday morning after the team learned that Carlson will miss several weeks with a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder. “If he’s here, he’s going to play. He’s here to play. I’m extremely excited to watch him."

The bigger question for the Cardinals might still be right field, though. Walker is a former elite prospect and showed a promising bat last season, hitting .276/.342/.445, but his defense was questionable to put it lightly. In 117 games played, his defense in left and right field was rated at -14 outs above average and -16 defensive runs saved, both among the worst marks in MLB.

Walker's costly mistake Monday didn't exactly raise confidence either, but it now means he will be navigating the outfield alongside a rookie to start the season.