ST. LOUIS -- While struggling to produce since returning from an oblique injury in early August, Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter has acknowledged, at various points, that timing issues and trust in his oblique have held him back. Perhaps, now, there is another contributing factor in play.Manager Mike Matheny divulged
ST. LOUIS -- While struggling to produce since returning from an oblique injury in early August, Cardinals second baseman Matt Carpenter has acknowledged, at various points, that timing issues and trust in his oblique have held him back. Perhaps, now, there is another contributing factor in play.
Manager Mike Matheny divulged on Monday that Carpenter has been bothered for "a while" by a right middle finger injury. Discomfort in that finger has hurt Carpenter's ability to finish through some of his swings and has sapped him of some grip strength. After noticing Carpenter wiggling his finger to try and get feeling back in it after an eighth-inning single on Sunday, Matheny determined that the infielder needed at least one day off.
Carpenter was not in the lineup for Monday's series opener against the Reds.
"We're trying to get ahead of that, but it just doesn't look right right now," Matheny said. "We need to get him into a good place. And if taking a day gets him into a good spot where he feels good about his swing and feels good about every part of his game, so be it. If it takes more than that and somebody else can jump in there and help us, we'll figure it out. We know we want him in there when he's right. And I think it's going to come down to physical and trusting that he's right."
Over his last 45 games entering Monday, Carpenter hit .222/.293/.374. His power has been especially sapped as of late. Over Carpenter's last 52 at-bats, he hit three doubles and no home runs.
Matheny did briefly broach the subject of batting gloves with Carpenter, who has never worn them. Carpenter did not embrace the idea.
"It was about a month ago that I suggested that and he looked at me like I had four heads," Matheny said. "I think he ruled that one out."
Holliday gets good news
Outfielder Matt Holliday, whose recovery from a right thumb injury has been repeatedly hampered by swelling and soreness, received assurance from a hand specialist on Monday that his thumb remains structurally sound.
That means that Holliday can continue to push toward making a return in these final days of the regular season. Whether he can will depend on how much discomfort Holliday can tolerate. His thumb has been swollen and sore at various points in the rehab process, including, most recently, after hitting off Mike Mayers during a live batting practice session on Friday.
Matheny said Holliday would hit in the batting cages on Monday, and, if his thumb responded well, potentially hit against live pitching again as early as Tuesday.
"It's going to be strength for him and that he feels right," Matheny said. "There's not a lot of opportunities we're going to have to get another live session. That doesn't necessarily equal game experience, too. We'll take a good run at it, see how he feels."
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.