SEATTLE -- Matt Carpenter will spend the games leading up to the All-Star break on the injured list with a lower back strain that he sustained while recovering from an illness.
In a corresponding move, reliever John Brebbia was activated from the paternity list.
Carpenter had been out of the lineup for the past four games, the first three to regroup and work on his swing and the fourth against the Padres because of illness. He was dehydrated and bedridden for more than 40 hours over the past two days, and he tweaked his back Sunday while moving around. He and manager Mike Shildt said that Carpenter could have been back by the time the Cardinals go to San Francisco this weekend, but they didn’t want to risk it.
“We were in a situation where there were six games left before the All-Star break,” Carpenter said. “I thought I probably could be ready in a couple of days, but given the situation, I thought it would be better coming off the sickness and back to just be smart about it and be ready to go after the break.”
Carpenter will go back to St. Louis on Wednesday and continue to rehydrate to gain back the few pounds he lost. As far as when he’ll get back to hitting, he said he’ll play it by ear when he returns home. The third baseman has 10 home runs this season, but has a .216/.325/.381 slash line for a .706 OPS. In his last 15 games, he was 10-for-53 with a .189 average.
“I could use a break, but I could hit probably when I get back,” Carpenter said. “We were in this situation when we made the decision and it was in my best interest, with what I am going through physically. As far as if I could hit or not, I could have gone out there in a day or two and push through it, but it didn’t make a lot of sense where we were at.”
While Carpenter is down, Yairo Muñoz -- who hit leadoff and played third base Tuesday against the Mariners -- and Tommy Edman are expected to pick up more playing time. Edman especially has been a spark in the leadoff spot -- he hit a solo home run leading off the first inning on Saturday against the Padres -- and Munoz has been one of the team's more consistent hitters recently, too.
If Edman or Munoz performs well hitting leadoff in the games leading up to the break, Shildt said they might be looking at more time in that spot.
“It’s something we’d always -- if someone takes it and runs with it, we can’t ignore it,” Shildt said. “That’s for sure.”
No timeframe for Ozuna’s return
Marcell Ozuna (fractured right fingers) saw a hand specialist in St. Louis, but there isn’t a timetable yet on his return. Shildt said that as soon as Ozuna gets his strength back in his fingers, which he jammed during a pickoff play Friday in San Diego, he’ll be ready to return.
“It’s just a matter with how quickly he can get strength back to where he can sustain it for the remainder of the season,” Shildt said. “Pretty wide spectrum of the possibility of time, but this week will be important to get his treatment. How it heals this week will be a big factor.”