07/18/12 6:53 PM ET
Matheny confident Cards will find groove with bats
By Jeremy Warnemuende / MLB.com
Thigh contusion keeps Holliday out of Cards' lineup
MILWAUKEE -- Matt Holliday was held out of the Cardinals' starting lineup for Wednesday's series finale against the Brewers with a left thigh contusion he suffered when hit by a pitch on Tuesday.Holliday was called on to pinch-hit in the ninth inning of the Cards' 4-3 loss, striking out against Francisco Rodriguez to see his hit streak snapped at 15 games.
Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf hit Holliday just above the left knee in the first inning. Holliday stayed in the game, slowly making his way to first base before playing the bottom of the first in left field. He did not return for the second, though.After Tuesday's game, Holliday said he didn't think the injury was serious. St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said Holliday was sore Wednesday morning, and although he ran through some tests to try and play, it wasn't worth pushing him. "He's had some days where he's been banged up, and he just keeps going back out there," Matheny said. "When you have a day like today, when he's really fighting to make it happen and not getting a lot of relief, you got to help him out. He deserves that." Matheny said Holliday, who had played in 88 of the Cardinals' 92 games this season entering Wednesday, would be available as a pinch-hitter if needed.
With the Cardinals offense sputtering, Matheny also said it was a tough time to not have his hottest hitter. The 32-year-old outfielder's 15-game hit streak remained intact Tuesday night because he didn't register an at-bat, and overall, he was batting .317 with 59 RBIs and 14 home runs entering Wednesday.
Carlos Beltran was given most of the day off Wednesday before lacing a pinch-hit double and scoring a run in the ninth inning of the Cards' 4-3 loss. Matheny said Beltran's rest was planned, much like his respite in the series opener, to give him a break after playing in the All-Star Game. Matheny talks to the veteran outfielder every day to get a read on how he is feeling. When the two spoke after the break, Matheny said Beltran told him, "Hey, I'm struggling right now.""There have been times where we've done this in the past, too, had a plan and his body just responds way better than he thought, and he just says, 'Hey, listen, I really feel good today," Matheny said. "Today wasn't one of those days. He's doing everything he can." After not appearing in either of the first two games against the Brewers after his inaugural callup, Trevor Rosenthal made his big league debut on Wednesday, firing a scoreless eighth and stranding the bases loaded. "Take the baseball side out and put the human side back in, and this guy's been looking for this day for a long time," Matheny said before the game. "I'm excited for him to experience that." Major League Baseball's first Competitive Balance Lottery came and went on Wednesday, and St. Louis was one of two eligible teams to not receive an extra selection in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. In all, 14 teams were hoping for one of 12 selections -- six after the first round and six more after the second round. The Cardinals and Rays were the only teams to not acquire a pick, while the Royals won the lottery to receive the first pick after the first round. The Pirates were awarded the second bonus selection.
Jeremy Warnemuende is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.