Beltran explains reasoning for laying down bunt
Right fielder says he sacrificed because Craig, Holliday were due up
ST. LOUIS -- Questions about who called for a seventh-inning bunt on Monday and why that decision was made were answered by Cardinals right fielder Carlos Beltran on Tuesday afternoon.
Unaware of the attention around the his successful sacrifice, Beltran explained that it was his idea to lay down the bunt with runners on first and second, no outs and the Cardinals down by two runs. The bunt moved both runners up 90 feet and turned the run-scoring opportunity over to Allen Craig and Matt Holliday.
One run scored on Craig's groundout. The other runner was left stranded on third.
"I did it because coming behind is one of the best hitters we've got in that position," Beltran said. "We're looking for two runs, so I think it's an opportunity to get the guys over. It's a play where people can judge it different ways, but I was thinking about getting the bunt [down]."
Craig entered the game batting .472 with runners in scoring position this season. The sacrifice bunt was just the second executed by Beltran, who leads the Cardinals in homers (19), since 2008.
"I think I did the right thing," Beltran said. "People can put it any way they want. I did it thinking about the team. I did it thinking about the guy who was coming behind me. And I did it thinking about the situation."
The bunt became a day-after topic mostly because questions went unanswered after Monday's loss. Asked whether the bunt was called from the dugout or player-initiated, manager Mike Matheny declined comment postgame. Beltran was unavailable in the clubhouse.
Matheny said on Tuesday that his decision not to give a direct answer was driven by his desire to protect his player.
"I obviously respect, as all of us should, what a guy like Carlos has been able to do over his career," Matheny said. "I think once you start trying to take instincts away from guys, I think you're asking for trouble. I know that he's a pro and he's thinking about the team. His thought-process really was, 'OK, I've got guys at second and third and have Allen Craig and Matt Holliday coming to the plate.' I understand that."
Matheny has taken questions about his bunting tactics several times during his two seasons as manager. Last year, the Cardinals laid down 34 sacrifice bunts from non-pitchers. That total tied for third-most in the National League. The league mean in 2012 was 27.
This year, though, the bunting has been much less pronounced. Heading into the team's 112th game of the year, the Cardinals have just 12 sacrifice bunts from non-pitchers. Their pitchers have sacrificed 33 times.
"It wasn't necessarily an intention," Matheny said of the decrease in frequency. "I didn't walk in this year and say, 'We are going to bunt less.' I did say that when we bunt, we're going to be more successful at it. It's something we can improve on. But you just have to look at the whole picture of how our offense is going, who we're facing, how an individual is hitting at that time, and what does our team need right now? You have to take the whole picture.
"I think there are a lot of people who would like to see the bunt completely eliminated from the game. I'm not one of them. I also don't think you should be up there giving away outs."
Garcia aiming to be ready if Cards make playoffs
ST. LOUIS -- Though it's unlikely that the Cardinals would push for Jaime Garcia to be ready to pitch in the postseason, the rehabbing left-hander has set October as a personal goal for being ready should the club make the playoffs.
Consider it mostly a mind game.
"The biggest thing for me is that keeps you working hard and keeps you hungry and keeps you coming to the ballpark to do your rehab," said Garcia, who underwent surgery to repair a labrum tear in his left shoulder in May. "If there's a possibility to come back to the team this year, that has to be my main goal. If there is a small chance of pitching this year, I'm going to be ready to go mentally and physically. Of course, you have to wait and see what happens. I haven't even started throwing yet."
Based on the progression through his rehab program to this point, Garcia said he is tentatively scheduled to start playing catch around the start of the Cardinals' next homestand (Aug. 22). Garcia has remained in St. Louis for his rehab and has spent the months since his surgery strengthening his legs and keeping his body in shape.
Garcia recently began adding more upper body workouts to his schedule and said that he'll soon add plyometrics to the mix.
At the very least, Garcia hopes that if he targets an October return but doesn't pitch, he will at least be in position to follow a normal offseason program. He was told at the time of the procedure not to expect to pitch until 2014.
"Everything has been going very good with rehab so far," Garcia said. "The way I'm approaching it is, after talking to Adam [Wainwright] about how he approached his surgery [in 2011], is mentally and physically you're putting your body in position to be capable."
Prospect Jenkins has season-ending shoulder surgery
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals pitching prospect Tyrell Jenkins underwent season-ending surgery on Monday to repair the latissimus muscle in his right shoulder. The expected recovery time for the 21-year-old right-hander is six to eight months.
Jenkins, ranked by MLB.com as the organization's seventh-best prospect, had been dealing with shoulder issues for much of the season. He exited his June 7 start with low Class A Peoria due to what was later diagnosed as a shoulder strain. He returned to the mound later that month, made two starts and then left a third after facing one batter.
In total, Jenkins made 13 starts for Peoria and high Class A Palm Beach this season. He finishes with a 4.70 ERA, 25 walks and 40 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings.
A first-round pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, Jenkins has not thrown more than 83 innings in any of his first three full seasons in the Minors.
• ESPN announced that it has selected the Cardinals-Pirates game on Aug. 14 for its Wednesday Night Baseball telecast. The previously scheduled game time of 7:15 p.m. CT game time will not change.
• Hip hop recording artist and St. Louis native Nelly joined the Cardinals' pitchers for some batting practice swings before Tuesday's game. He later threw out a ceremonial first pitch with children from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The former Grammy-Award winner was on hand as part of Nelly theme night, which raised money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
• As the construction on Ballpark Village continues, the parking lot adjacent to the new development has now opened for game-day parking. The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that the lot has about 400 available parking spaces and will charge $20 per vehicle. The first phase of Ballpark Village is scheduled to be completed by Opening Day 2014.
• In his first start for Triple-A Memphis since making a spot start in Pittsburgh last week, Tyler Lyons allowed five runs on five hits in five innings on Monday. The lefty struck out four and walked one.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.