ST. LOUIS -- A Cardinals 4-2 victory Wednesday night appeared costly when Matt Carpenter exited in the seventh inning. Nationals reliever Matt Grace's 0-1 sinker hit the back of Carpenter's right hand, and the Cardinals removed him for precautionary reasons, according to the team, with Patrick Wisdom taking his place at first.
But there was relief after the game in the Cardinals' clubhouse. Carpenter is expected to be in interim manager Mike Shildt's Thursday lineup after X-rays were negative and a deciding strength test: opening a jar of his own fully-sealed salsa.
"I was pleading my case to be ready to go tomorrow and I told [head athletic trainer] Adam Olsen that if I can go in there and open a jar of salsa, I should be fine," Carpenter said.
"This one was sealed, and I was able to do it. So I'm able to go."
Carpenter grimaced holding his hand walking to first. There were lace marks on the back of his palm, he said. He was worried considering the hand injury to shortstop Paul DeJong earlier this season. DeJong missed seven weeks after being hit on his left hand.
"The color of it, initially, that's what worried me," Carpenter said. "And as [athletic trainer] Chris Conroy was tugging on it, it didn't feel great. But I think that was just the initial kind of shock. Once I got in, that pain started to go down a little bit and the swelling started to go down."
Carpenter was wearing a pink pad to limit the inflammation in the clubhouse after the game.
Carpenter is in the midst of a 33-game on-base streak while emerging as a serious National League MVP candidate. He was 0-for-2 with a walk before being hit.