Team USA is headed to the finals of the World Baseball Classic.
They’ll await the winner of Monday’s semifinal matchup between Mexico and Japan.
However, one of their key stars in third baseman Nolan Arenado was forced to exit Sunday’s game early.
The St. Louis Cardinals slugger was hit on the right hand by a pitch in the bottom of the fifth inning, which resulted in him ultimately exiting the game.
X-rays came back negative.
However, Cardinals fans were left holding their breath.
On Twitter, one fan expressed concern for Arenado, but also pointed out that the team has plenty of depth if the slugger is out for an extended period of time.
I really hope Arenado is ok but even if he isn't we've got enough good depth to cover in his absence. Deepest we've been in years. Gorman could easily slide into 3B. Obviously no replacing him though. #STLCards
— Rinedog (@Rinedog1) March 20, 2023
Obviously, there is no replacing Arenado, who is arguably the best third baseman in all of baseball.
But the Cardinals do have plenty of depth that they can fall back on.
Former top prospect Nolan Gorman is having a strong spring and hit a two-run homer against the New York Mets on Sunday.
Current top prospect Jordan Walker has also had an impressive spring.
While he is more likely to secure a spot in the outfield or as a designated hitter, the slugger was drafted as a third baseman and could find himself taking reps there if Arenado goes down.
Utilityman Taylor Motter is another option.
Fortunately, X-rays came back negative on Arenado, but his early exit on Sunday may not bode well for Team USA as they prepare for a championship matchup against either Japan or Mexico.
The Cardinals are loaded with depth, however, and could easily plug Walker, Gorman, or Motter in at third base if Arenado ultimately goes down.NEXT: Cardinals Fan Shares A Prediction For The 2023 Offense