DeJong returns as starting shortstop, where Sosa shined and assured he’ll continue to score playing time

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St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Johan Oviedo delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Friday, June 11, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Charles Rex Arbogast

Derrick Goold

CHICAGO — The sliding tag play that shook his ribcage and signaled that he had an injury impossible to play through found Paul DeJong this past week at Class AAA Memphis as he made his way back to the majors.

He completed it without trouble or pain, but with relief.

“So, I feel like I came full circle with that,” DeJong said. “This is a new lease on the season for me.”

The Cardinals’ starting shortstop returned Friday from a monthlong absence to recover from a broken rib. DeJong, an All-Star one season removed from hitting 30 home runs, went oh-for-four in the Cardinals’ 8-5 loss at Wrigley Field. His batting average settled at .172. While the same spot on the field, the position he returned to on the team is not the same as when he left it — and the Cardinals believe that could be beneficial for him and them.

Shortly after DeJong fractured his rib, Sosa asserted his bid to start at shortstop and overcame the initial plan to use Tommy Edman there often. Sosa, 25, started 22 games during DeJong’s recovery, and he hit .286 with a .375 on-base percentage while also playing defense that ranged from steady to standout.…

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