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Fowler receives time off to sort through slump

MLB.com @JoeTrezz

MINNEAPOLIS -- Tuesday afternoon at Target Field, Mike Matheny huddled with Dexter Fowler and his hitting coaches to outline a strategy for his right fielder. There was a chance Fowler could return to the lineup after getting a majority of the weekend off to fight his way out of a dreadful lump, much like Matt Carpenter.

Carpenter was back in the lineup following a three-game "reset" when the Cardinals opened a two-game series against the Twins, hitting second and playing first base. Fowler was not, instead sitting for the third time in four games. Harrison Bader started in his place in right field, for the second consecutive day.

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Tuesday afternoon at Target Field, Mike Matheny huddled with Dexter Fowler and his hitting coaches to outline a strategy for his right fielder. There was a chance Fowler could return to the lineup after getting a majority of the weekend off to fight his way out of a dreadful lump, much like Matt Carpenter.

Carpenter was back in the lineup following a three-game "reset" when the Cardinals opened a two-game series against the Twins, hitting second and playing first base. Fowler was not, instead sitting for the third time in four games. Harrison Bader started in his place in right field, for the second consecutive day.

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"We kept him in the conversation," Matheny said of Fowler. "Instead of taking a day here and there, let's take a couple."

Fowler and Carpenter were expected to kick-start what was projected to be a dynamic Cardinals offense. Instead the club has had to weather what ranks as the worst offensive starts of their careers, parallel slumps that dwarf their sluggish first months of 2017, when both started slowly as well. Carpenter entered play Tuesday with the lowest batting average in baseball among qualified hitters, at .145. Fowler ranked second at .146.

Video: NYM@STL: Fowler hits a walk-off single in the 13th

"Something is just off," Matheny said. "If you can pinpoint it, you'd fix it. 'Oh, I found something!' That's typically the conversation. But that's after days of repetition and after lots of sleepless nights trying to figure it out. You grind your way through it.

"It's all about confidence," he continued. "That's the root of it. I don't know which comes first. When the confidence is lacking, with anything you do out there, your lack of success diminishes significantly."

Wainwright officially to DL
After elbow pain led to one of the most ineffective starts of Adam Wainwright's career Sunday, the Cardinals placed the right-hander on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday. They recalled Tuesday's starter, Jack Flaherty, in a corresponding move that didn't qualify as news.

Wainwright returned to St. Louis on Sunday night to see doctors following an outing in which the pain in his surgically-repaired right elbow resurfaced, severely hindering Wainwright's velocity and command. The 36-year-old is out indefinitely; his third trip to the disabled list this season is expected to last significantly longer than the previous two.

Video: STL@SD: Wainwright on loss to Padres, possible injury

Gant possible for Saturday
Matheny called right-hander John Gant a candidate to start against the Phillies on Saturday, the next time the Cardinals will need a starter. Injured ace Carlos Martinez will be eligible to return from the DL that day, though details of his progress from a strained lat remain few and far between. The club said it expected Martinez to miss one start due to the injury when he was placed on the DL last week.

Norris gets engaged
Cardinals closer Bud Norris was the recipient of a flood of handshakes in the clubhouse Monday after getting engaged over the weekend in San Diego. Norris proposed to his girlfriend, Hayley, on the field at Petco Park after Friday night's 2-1 win over the Padres.

Norris, who pitched for the Padres in 2015, arranged for the grounds crew to keep the lights on and the sprinklers off for the proposal, to which Hailie said yes. The couple met in 2016, when Norris was a member of the Dodgers.

Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz.

St. Louis Cardinals, Dexter Fowler