KANSAS CITY -- The Cardinals will do without catcher Gerald Laird for at least 15 days after he suffered a broken bone in his right index finger during Sunday's win over the Royals. Laird will be placed on the disabled list prior to Monday's game in San Diego.
With two men on and no outs in the 10th inning on Sunday, Laird attempted a sacrifice bunt. The pitch from Louis Coleman hit him, and though he stayed in the game, it was clear he was in serious pain. The Royals argued, claiming that the ball hit Laird's bat, but he was awarded the base. The Cardinals had no estimate on a timetable for Laird's absence as of early Sunday evening.
"It's part of the game," Laird said. "I was just trying to square and make the bunt down. Obviously, now they know it actually hit me. It's just one of those things. It's a tough break. Hopefully, it heals pretty quick and I can get back and do what I can to help this team win."
Laird was in the game as the designated hitter after Matt Holliday was removed due to a recurrence of tightness in his left quadriceps.
Tony Cruz and Bryan Anderson are the two catchers at Triple-A Memphis, and both are on the 40-man roster. General manager John Mozeliak said before he boarded the team's flight to San Diego that no decision had been made on a replacement. However, Cruz is considered the superior defender and has played more in May than Anderson. He also lasted longer with the club in Spring Training.
Holliday aggravates quadriceps injury
KANSAS CITY -- Matt Holliday was removed from the Cardinals' game against the Royals on Sunday due to a recurrence of tightness in his left quadriceps muscle. The club said the move was precautionary, but Holliday acknowledged after the game that he is likely to miss at least the beginning of the Cardinals' upcoming series in San Diego.
Holliday beat out a potential double-play ball in the fifth inning and experienced some discomfort when he reached base. He moved to third on two walks before being removed for pinch-runner Gerald Laird, who stayed in the game as the Cardinals' designated hitter. Laird later suffered a broken bone in his right index finger when he was hit by a pitch.
"It's tight," Holliday said of his quadriceps. "I don't know what to say. It's weird. I've still got plenty of strength. It's just that when I go to run hard, it kind of grabs. I guess I'll take it a little bit slower, see how it responds."
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Usually the Cardinals' left fielder, Holliday served as the designated hitter all weekend in order to protect the muscle. He first suffered the injury on Wednesday night against Houston, and he missed Thursday's game before returning to the lineup Friday against Kansas City.
He will likely sit out a couple of days to make sure the muscle recovers sufficiently.
"I think that's probably the plan," he said.
Berkman hitless in return to lineup
KANSAS CITY -- Lance Berkman returned to the Cardinals' lineup on Sunday after missing three games due to a sprained right wrist. Berkman came through his workouts on Saturday feeling good, so manager Tony La Russa was happy to write him in the starting nine once Berkman got to Kauffman Stadium on Sunday.
Berkman, who walked twice in six plate appearances, went straight to the outfield, as Matt Holliday remained in the designated hitter spot for the Interleague game against the Royals. Holliday is still recovering from some left quadriceps tightness that struck him on Wednesday night against the Astros and left the game on Sunday during the fifth inning when the injury flared up again.
La Russa does not believe that Berkman's wrist will cause him any problems playing the outfield, nor that he's at any real risk of aggravating the condition. Berkman quipped that it's not the wrist that's likely to be a problem for him.
Asked if he will be compromised on defense, Berkman joked, "Not more than normal."
Theriot falls ill, opening door for Kozma to start
KANSAS CITY -- A flu-like illness struck Cardinals infielder Ryan Theriot on Saturday, forcing him out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Royals and opening the door for rookie Pete Kozma to make his first big league start.
Kozma, called up from Triple-A Memphis on Wednesday when Nick Punto was placed on the disabled list, got the call at shortstop. That's the position he's played throughout his Minor League career, though he's on the current roster mostly as a utility man. He was hitless in four at-bats but walked.
"[It's] be nice to give him a game," manager Tony La Russa said. "I look forward to seeing him."
Theriot said "it was a long night" on Saturday but indicated that he does not expect to miss much time.
Adron Chambers hit a tie-breaking home run in the top of the ninth to give Triple-A Memphis a 4-3 win against Tacoma on Saturday. Chambers also walked twice and scored two runs.
Alex Castellanos stayed hot with a single, a double and a run, but Double-A Springfield was thumped by Tulsa, 11-2.
Shelby Miller pitched a fine game but didn't get much help in Class A Palm Beach's 3-0 loss to Daytona. Miller allowed two runs on six hits over six innings. He struck out 10 and walked two. Miller has 69 strikeouts and 19 walks in 46 innings this year.
Seth Blair tossed six effective innings and Victor Sanchez drove in four runs, sending Class A Quad Cities past Cedar Rapids, 8-3. Blair allowed three runs on six hits with six strikeouts and three walks.
Sanchez is the player of the day. He was 2-for-3 with two doubles and a sacrifice fly, a run and four RBIs. He's batting .196 with a .316 on-base percentage and a .283 slugging percentage in 15 games this year. Sanchez, 22, was a 26th-round pick out of the University of San Diego in the 2010 Draft.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa indicated Sunday that there remains no hurry for second baseman Skip Schumaker to return to the active roster. Schumaker, out since April 15 with a hyperextended right elbow, is on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment at extended spring camp in Florida.
Colby Rasmus moved from the No. 2 spot in the batting order to No. 6 on Sunday, largely because Jon Jay batted leadoff. La Russa prefers not to have two lefties back to back at the top of his batting order, especially against a team like Kansas City that has two left-handed relievers. Rasmus walked five times, while Jay went 2-for-5.
Cardinals pitchers have converted eight of their last nine save chances, including Sunday.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.