It has been a rollercoaster season for Maple Ridge Major League ball player Tyler O’Neill, but he’s on a tear now.
The slugger was one of the hottest hitters in spring training, and won a fierce competition for a spot in the St. Louis Cardinals outfield – along with accolades from sports writers.
He hit a home run in his first game of the regular season on April 1, and appeared to be on his way to becoming another standout Canadian in the Majors.
What followed was a skid that saw him strike out 13 times in his next 23 at bats. His average was loitering at .143 when he landed on the disabled list with a groin problem in the middle of the month.
Tyler O'Neill says getting a curtain call today gave him even more appreciation for having fans back at Busch: "We live for this stuff. Love having them here in the ballpark, and hopefully they keep showing out."#STLFLY pic.twitter.com/Yx84VzIpk2
— Bally Sports Midwest (@BallySportsMW) April 25, 2021
Since he came back, he’s been better at the plate. O’Neill got a start back in left field on April 23, and had a hit and a walk in two trips to the plate. It was his first free pass of the season.
Then last Sunday he smacked two home runs, and on Wednesday went three-for-four with another homer, and brought his batting average up to .217 on the year.
Asked about his time off for injury, and whether he changed his approach, O’Neill said he is being more selective.
“I’m just slowing it down a little bit, being able to take a step back and reel things into perspective a little bit and just trust myself…” he said.
In extra innings on Thursday, he scored the winning run on a wild pitch.
O’Neill has been playing every day in left field, and batting between fifth and seventh the batting order since his return from injury.
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