St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Tyler O'Neill saw his name in trade rumors leading up to the Aug. 1 deadline
"I had no idea what was going to happen, honestly," O'Neill told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I don't know what goes on in the negotiation rooms and what kind of return they would be looking for. I'm just trying to keep my head down here, take care of my business, have confidence in my routine and just go to work. I think that's how I handle it best.
O'Neill spent 2 1/2 months on the injured list with a back injury. He has hit safely in eight straight games and in 12 of 14 games since his return on July 20. For the season, he is hitting .255 with five homers and 13 RBIs
"I'm feeling physically good," O'Neill, 28, said. "There's confidence in that for me. I can just kind of show up and trust my routine and just go play and go compete rather than be fighting stuff and spending additional time in the training room and whatnot. That's in the rear-view mirror for me now. I'm just focused on the here and now and just playing ball again.
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol plans on starting O'Neill five times in every seven games for the rest of the season to help him try to avoid re-injury
"He on any given day is the most talented player on that field," Marmol said. "From a skill set standpoint, it's real. The combination of speed and power is definitely there. He's done a really nice job. He's playing really good defense, getting to a lot of baseballs. His swings, in my opinion, have been really good.
O'Neill figures to start Sunday against Rockies left-hander Austin Gomber (8-8, 5.68 ERA), who will start against his former team. Gomber was part of the trade that sent third baseman Nolan Arenado to St. Louis before the 2021 season
Gomber held the San Diego Padres to two runs on six hits and two walks in six innings on July 31 in his last start. The Rockies won that game 4-3 in 10 innings
Along the way, Gomber showed emotion while stacking up outs
"That's fine. That's Austin," Rockies manager Bud Black said after the game. "He's fueled by competition. He likes being out there. He likes when it's his day. ... He wants us to win, and he wants to be part of us winning.
Gomber is 0-1 with a 9.82 ERA in three career appearances against the Cardinals, including one start
The Cardinals developed a gap in their rotation due to Miles Mikolas' five-game suspension for hitting Cubs outfielder Ian Happ with a pitch. So Marmol will go with a bullpen start Sunday
Left-hander Zack Thompson (2-3, 4.76) will be the opener. He has two career appearances against the Rockies spanning one inning. He has allowed one unearned run on two hits and a walk
--Field Level Medi