05/02/2013 9:26 PM ET
Cardinals waiting for power to pick up
By Joe DiGiovanni / Special to MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- A year after having six players hit at least 20 home runs, the Cardinals have hit just 21 in their first 27 games.
Carlos Beltran has seven homers, but others are behind their 2012 pace. With several established players, manager Mike Matheny thinks his sluggers will start hitting homers soon.
"We've had some guys who've done it for a little while, long enough to know that it's there, and it doesn't just disappear," he said. "It's going to be there."
Matheny said it would not help for the players to start thinking about hitting homers.
"To try and force the issue, no matter what issue it is in this game, it seems like you're going to work yourself backwards," Matheny said. "What we want to do is continue to put together good at bats. If they start thinking about the home runs, it's not necessarily going to help them produce."
"They will be the first ones to tell you that typically when they hit home runs they're not thinking about it," he added. "Just stick with it, and it will all even out in the end."
Freese back in lineup against Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- David Freese was back in the starting lineup Thursday night after being given a couple of days off.
Manager Mike Matheny said the team hoped the time off would help Freese end his slump. The Cardinals third baseman was in a 4-for-35 skid since April 15.
"I don't know there's a magic theory out there," Matheny said before the Cardinals played the Brewers. "Just gave him a couple days rest and get him back in there and watch how he does."
Matheny said Freese seemed to be swinging the bat better during batting practice Wednesday.
"The ball was jumping off his bat," Matheny said. "We need him to get going. We need him in there."
Like most athletes, Freese did not want to come out of the lineup.
"It feels good to be back out there, that's for sure," he said. "I like to play. That wasn't my decision at all. I didn't want to get out of the lineup, so I'm ready to get back in the lineup for sure."
Rosenthal finding groove after shaky start
MILWAUKEE -- Despite struggling for the first couple of weeks of the season, rookie right-hander Trevor Rosenthal quietly pitched well during the final two weeks of April.
Rosenthal has allowed only a single run over his last six appearances dating to April 18, and he pitched two hitless innings over two appearances on the just-concluded homestand.
"As a whole the bullpen went through some trials early on," Rosenthal said. "It's good to see now that everybody's kind of coming together and figuring some stuff out. That's what this game is about: Going through things and having to make adjustments."
Rosenthal, a starter in the Minor Leagues, was inserted into the eighth-inning setup role when Jason Motte's absence shuffled the bullpen responsibilities.
"It's definitely an adjustment," he said. "Every day you learn something new. Just being in the bullpen in general is something I'm not used to.
"It's just fun to be out there and compete, and be in different situations and see what I can do."
Matheny plans to use Maness
MILWAUKEE -- Seth Maness had his contract purchased from Triple-A Memphis on Sunday but had yet to pitch for the Cardinals entering Thursday's game.
The Cardinals' 2012 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Maness is pitching out of the bullpen after working as a starter for Memphis. The right-hander last pitched April 22.
Matheny said there was no timetable to get Maness into a game.
"I'm fine with the last couple of nights where we go seven or eight innings with our starter," Matheny said. "When you start trying to draw up how to get somebody in, you're probably setting yourself up for some trouble."
Matheny said the team did plan to use Maness, ranked the organization's No. 19 prospect by MLB.com.
"We didn't bring him here just to sit around," he said.
• Springfield outfielder Tommy Pham and Memphis left-hander John Gast were named the Cardinals' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month. Pham batted .322 with four doubles, five triples, five home runs and 18 RBIs. Gast (3-0), the organization's No. 9 prospect, pitched 29 2/3 scoreless innings in five starts.
• On this day in 1954, Stan Musial set a Major League record by hitting five home runs in a doubleheader against the New York Giants at Busch Stadium (Sportsman's Park). The Cardinals won Game 1, 10-6, but dropped the second game, 9-7. Musial finished 6-for-8 with nine RBIs in the games.
Joe DiGiovanni is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.