Lars Nootbaar had a single, a walk and scored twice in five trips to the plate in an injury rehab assignment in helping Springfield win its home opener. Nootbaar is expected to play at least one more full game with Springfield before returning to the St. Louis Cardinals roster. (Springfield Cardinals photo)

To read this story, please sign in with your email address and password.

You've read all your free stories this month. Subscribe now and unlock unlimited access to our stories, exclusive subscriber content, additional newsletters, invitations to special events, and more.


Chandler Redmond wants to make it clear that he loves the good people of Springfield and the fans who come to Hammons Field to faithfully cheer for their beloved Cardinals.

It’s just that Redmond, who’s driven in more runs than anyone in Springfield Cardinals history and led the Texas League with 31 home runs a year ago, figured he had seen the last of downtown SGF.

But circumstances of minor-league baseball often throw deserving players a wicked curveball. Sometimes the timing is not right for advancement. Paul Goldschmidt, a seven-time All-Star and 2022 National League MVP, remains entrenched at first base in St. Louis.

At Triple-A Memphis, Luken Baker remains after leading Triple-A baseball with 33 home runs in 2023. So Redmond, a bit long-in-the-tooth for Double-A at 27 years old, is ready to run it back at a level he’s already conquered. It’s sort of like repeating 11th grade after making all As and Bs.

Chandler Redmond, wearing a Springfield Cardinals uniform, celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a home run
Chandler Redmond led the Texas League with 31 home runs in 2023. (Photo: PJ Maigi, Springfield Cardinals)

“Prove ‘em wrong,” Redmond said of his mindset. “Just keep showing up and putting in the work and put up good numbers. Show them I can prove my worth. It’s nothing new. It’s the business side.

“A first-rounder, he’s got to prove that he can’t do it. I have to prove that I can do it, as a 32nd-rounder. Having one good year doesn’t mean the breakthrough is there. I have to do it again and again and again. I know that going into it.”

Springfield manager Jose Leger said there’s little he can say to Redmond to make him feel better about having to do it all over again in Springfield. And Redmond appreciates the real talk from the skipper.

“Jose is always going to shoot you straight,” Redmond said. “I’m not going to go into his office and he’s going to just pat me on the back and try and cheer me up. He’s gonna tell me how it is and what he thinks. That’s going to allow me to make the best decision for my career. Having him as a resource has been awesome.”

Uncommon to play 4 straight years in Double-A

Leger said it is unusual for a player to remain in Double-A for a fourth straight season, especially one who put up such big power numbers as Redmond did last season.

“He has proven that he belongs at the next level. He knows it, too, but it’s a matter of room at the upper level,” Leger said. “I tell him, ‘Listen man, you have to be happy and blessed that you still have a uniform. You get an opportunity to play the game.’

“It doesn’t matter where you start, you get an opportunity to play. If you’re playing for the St. Louis Cardinals in the minor-league system, you have a chance. You can go from here to St. Louis.”

And if not to St. Louis, 29 other big-league teams are always looking for deserving players who might fit into their plans.

“You’re not only playing for the Cardinals, you’re playing to showcase yourself to other teams, too,” Leger said. “We see it all the time. Trades happen. Just take it day by day, play your best and try to help the team win and go from there. Keep it simple. I’m glad the organization gave him an opportunity to come back and see what happens.”

Chandler Redmond, wearing a Springfield Cardinals uniform, gets ready to hit the baseball during a game
Chandler Redmond hit 16 home runs the first two months of the 2023 season. (Photo: PJ Maigi, Springfield Cardinals)

Even if life makes it complicated for a guy like Redmond, who is looking at once again spending half the year half-a-country away from his wife, Kristan, and their 18-month-old son, Walker who are back in South Carolina.

Redmond said he knew during the offseason, once the Cardinals acquired some veteran utility players, that he was likely destined for a Double-A repeat. He had to overcome initial disappointment that might still linger, if not for Kristan who is a registered nurse back home.

“The thing that gets me the most is trying to rationalize staying in Double-A for part of my fourth year while my son is growing up,” Redmond said. “That’s the hard part, not seeing a foreseeable plan for me to advance with the Cardinals and missing my boy growing up. That was tough.

Wife keeps Redmond motivated

“My wife does a great job. We don’t coddle anybody. We don’t coddle my son and she doesn’t coddle me. When I go to her and complain, she’s like, ‘Look, we have two options right now. You can quit and you can retire, or you can go to Springfield and play to the best of your ability. But you’re not going to Springfield to pout and mope and woe is me.’

“She definitely keeps me motivated and keeps me driven, for sure.”

So Redmond perseveres and keeps chasing his dream. He keeps believing that someday, when the time is right, he will get the magical call and become a 32nd-round draft choice that beat the odds.

Considering that there have only been 20 rounds in the draft since Redmond’s draft year of 2019, he said there definitely is a chip on his shoulder.

“I always said if I made it to the big leagues, I’d want to be No. 32 because of the 32nd round, or No. 20 because I was pick number 965 — 9, 6, 5 equals 20. I’m always gonna remember that. It was one of the happiest days of my life, but it’s also a huge chip on my shoulder.

“I know I can be in the big leagues. I know I can do it.”

Chandler Redmond said he hopes to improve his on-base percentage with a more patient approach at the plate this season. He hit 31 home runs in 2023 with 167 strikeouts and 83 walks for a .375 on-bat average. (Springfield Cardinals photo)

Redmond received a loud ovation from the Springfield fans in pre-game introductions on Tuesday night before the home opener. The left-handed hitting Redmond did not play with Wichita starting a lefty on the mound.

Leger said Redmond likely will be back in the lineup for the remaining games in the series, at either first base or designated hitter. Then, his quest for home runs and a promotion will resume.

Opening-night win, with ‘Noot’

Springfield improved to a franchise-best start of 4-0 with a successful home opener on April 9, beating the Wichita Wind Surge 6-2 on the strength of a three-run sixth inning. Lars Nootbaar, on an injury rehab assignment, had an RBI single (a 110 miles-per-hour liner to right) and scored in the sixth.

Nootbaar also walked to lead off the game and scored the Cardinals’ first run. He struck out in the second and grounded out in the fifth and eighth innings.

Prior to the game, Manager Jose Leger said Nootbaar is scheduled for at least one more game with the Springfield Cardinals.

Max Rajcic, the Cardinals’ minor-league pitcher of the year in 2023, pitched the first five innings to earn the victory in front of 5,252 fans. Rajcic allowed two hits, one earned run and struck out three. Bryan Torres and Noah Mendlinger had three hits apiece to lead the Springfield offense.

Springfield Cardinals’ homestand

  • April 9 — Springfield 6, Wichita 2
  • April 10 — vs. Wichita, 6:35 p.m.
  • April 11 — vs. Wichita, 6:35 p.m.
  • April 12 — vs. Wichita, 6:35 p.m.
  • April 13 — vs. Wichita, 6:05 p.m.
  • April 14 — vs. Wichita, 1:05 p.m.

Tickets are available at the Hammons Field box office, on the Springfield Cardinals website or by calling (417) 863-2143

Lyndal Scranton

Lyndal Scranton is a Springfield native who has covered sports in the Ozarks for more than 35 years, witnessing nearly every big sports moment in the region during the last 50 years. The Missouri Sports Hall of Famer, Springfield Area Sports Hall of Famer and live-fire cooking enthusiast also serves as PR Director for Lucas Oil Speedway in Wheatland, Missouri and is co-host of the Tailgate Guys BBQ Podcast. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @LyndalScranton. More by Lyndal Scranton