ST. LOUIS -- These days, the doors of the Cardinals' clubhouse swing open into a time lapse. Entering sends a visitor back two months, or forward five. Jerseys hang in 35 of the 42 available lockers, the kind of volume seen in Spring Training or September, when rosters expand.Rarely are
ST. LOUIS -- These days, the doors of the Cardinals' clubhouse swing open into a time lapse. Entering sends a visitor back two months, or forward five. Jerseys hang in 35 of the 42 available lockers, the kind of volume seen in Spring Training or September, when rosters expand.
Rarely are so many reinforcements summoned by the middle of May. But few teams have had their depth tested quite like the Cardinals, who are now forced to endure at least several weeks without shortstop Paul DeJong. The club placed DeJong (fractured left metacarpal) and reliever Matt Bowman (blisters to his index and middle finger) on the 10-day disabled list Friday, the latest victims of an array of maladies that have ransacked its active roster.
"Unfortunately, this is the kind of season we're having," president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said. "We're dealing with these speed bumps as they come."
The club recalled utilityman Yairo Munoz, who was playing mostly shortstop at Triple-A Memphis, to offset the loss of DeJong. Slugging prospect Tyler O'Neill was promoted to replace Bowman, the club's need for position player depth now paramount with eight relievers already in tow. Jedd Gyorko got the first start in DeJong's place on Friday, though the 23-year-old Munoz should see significant run there as well.
Mozeliak said whether or not the club will look outside the organization for a shortstop depends largely on the timetable for DeJong's return, which would be determined in the coming days. DeJong underwent successful surgery to repair the fracture Friday afternoon, a night after he was struck in the left hand by a Luis Garcia slider.
The severity of the injury came as a surprise. DeJong wasn't awarded first base until a replay confirmed he was hit. He showed little sign of injury, remained in the game, and lined out sharply in his next at bat. Only after the Cardinals dropped a 6-2 contest to the Phillies did an X-ray reveal the fracture.
"We'll take it week by week, but obviously he'll miss some time," Mozeliak said. "This is a huge disappointment. He was having a good year for us, making a lot of those positive adjustments at the plate and from a defensive standpoint was really holding his own."
Buoyed to the No.3 slot in the order recently after spending parts of his standout rookie season there, DeJong was hitting .260/.351/.473 with eight home runs and 19 RBI over 41 games to start his sophomore season. The most important of those numbers may be the last -- DeJong was the only Cardinals player to start every game this season. His durability stood out on a club that's now placed seven players on the DL over the past 10 days and was already playing without Carlos Martinez and Yadier Molina. St. Louis has placed 14 players on the DL at some point this season, the second most in baseball.
"I love the challenge of what the club has in front of them right now," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Any of the doubt that's out there about what we can do is an insult and we have to take it that way. We have guys who are completely capable of going out there and do special things. When you look at what we have and what we haven't done, we have so much room to climb and grow and get better."
More injury updates
• Mozeliak called the results of an additional MRI on Martinez's right lat encouraging, and said the right-hander will begin a throwing program Monday. His return remains 10-14 days away, Mozeliak said.
• Left-handed reliever Tyler Lyons (sore back) will likely begin a rehab assignment Saturday at Double-A Springfield, which is expected to be a short one.
• Additional tests on Dominic Leone's right arm revealed the reliever has nerve damage. It's not the type that typically leads to thoractic outlet syndrome, one of the more common and serious nerve issues pitchers suffer. Leone's condition does not require surgery, but he remains out indefinitely.
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.