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Matheny out with illness, replaced by Bell

MLB.com @LangoschMLB

JUPITER, Fla. -- Bench coach David Bell served as the Cardinals' manager on Saturday after Mike Matheny was forced to excuse himself from the day's activities due to illness.

Matheny showed up at the Cardinals' spring complex as he does each day, but didn't remain for long. About the time he was to gather his coaching staff for a morning meeting, Matheny agreed that it would be in his best interest to head home and rest.

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JUPITER, Fla. -- Bench coach David Bell served as the Cardinals' manager on Saturday after Mike Matheny was forced to excuse himself from the day's activities due to illness.

Matheny showed up at the Cardinals' spring complex as he does each day, but didn't remain for long. About the time he was to gather his coaching staff for a morning meeting, Matheny agreed that it would be in his best interest to head home and rest.

View Full Game Coverage

"It all happened so fast," Bell said. "He didn't want to admit that he wasn't feeling very well, so I think he wanted to get through whatever he was feeling. Right at the last second, before we went into a meeting, he realized that he wasn't going to be able to make it."

Following the team's 2-2 tie with the Braves, Bell said he received a text message from Matheny indicating the manager expected to be back on Sunday.

Matheny wasn't the only noticeable absence from camp on Saturday. Mike Shannon, the longtime voice of the Cardinals, was not able to join John Rooney in the KMOX radio booth, also because of illness.

Diaz slowed by cramping
Aledmys Diaz has missed three consecutive games due to hamstring cramping, Bell confirmed. Yet, it doesn't appear as if the starting shortstop will be sidelined for much longer.

Video: WSH@STL: Diaz charges grounder to nab Drew at first

Diaz was cleared for defensive work Saturday and reported no issues after taking a series of groundballs. Diaz, who is 9-for-18 this spring, hopes to return to the lineup Sunday.

Weaver set to return
Luke Weaver is scheduled to return to Grapefruit League action in Sunday's game against the Marlins. Weaver hasn't pitched since March 1, when his outing was cut short due to back tightness.

Video: Top Prospects: Luke Weaver, RHP, Cardinals

Camp opened with Weaver in the mix for the fifth rotation spot, but his setback, coupled with Michael Wacha's strong start, makes it unlikely that Weaver opens the year on the Major League roster. With three weeks until Opening Day, Weaver does have time to build up the necessary arm strength to begin the season as a starter in Triple-A.

Weaver is currently the organization's No.3 overall prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com

Odds and ends
• For the second time in three days, Matt Carpenter (back stiffness) played in a Grapefruit League game despite not being cleared to swing a bat. Carpenter played three innings in the field before being pulled for a pinch-hitter. Carpenter is hopeful to be swinging in a game by next weekend.

• Members of the organization's 2016 Gulf Coast League team were presented with their championship rings prior to Saturday's game.

• Former Cardinals pitcher Brad Thompson joined play-by-play announcer Dan McLaughlin in the broadcast booth Saturday. It marked Thompson's first time serving as a TV analyst and followed an appearance by Rick Ankiel in the same role earlier this week. Thompson and Ankiel will split time as studio analysts on the Cardinals' pre- and post-game shows this season.

• Congratulations are in order for Jeremy Clipperton, the Cardinals' assistant athletic trainer. His wife, Jessica, gave birth to their first child, Calvin David, on Friday.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Read her blog, follow her on Twitter, like her Facebook page and listen to her podcast.

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