4/29/2014 10:16 P.M. ET
Matheny maintaining confidence in Maness
By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- A day after watching Seth Maness allow a pair of runs in the 12th inning of a 5-3 loss to the Brewers, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny reiterated his confidence in the 25-year-old reliever while also acknowledging that the club needs to help him find his form.
Maness, who was scored upon in just six of his first 27 appearances in his rookie season, has allowed a run in five of his first nine outings this year. He has fought command and, most glaringly, is not getting his usual heavy dose of ground balls. Maness induced 16 double plays last year (most among National League relievers) and had a ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio of 5.50. This year, it has dropped to 1.90.
"What we're dealing with is a guy who [is struggling] -- [something] every single one of them is going to go through at some point or another if they're around for very long -- and trying to get it back," Matheny said. "It's not gone. It's just not available right now. He's just got to get it there."
The Cardinals have altered Maness' role this season, though it's tough to see a correlation between that and his command issues. Last season, he became Matheny's go-to pitcher to get the team out of a jam. This year, Maness is mostly coming in to start an inning.
Matheny confirmed that Maness is not dealing with any physical ailment, and that the Cardinals have not found any glaring issues with his mechanics.
"We're talking about a guy who has always relied on pinpoint control," Matheny said. "And that pinpoint control is rare, even at this level. I think a lot of it comes down to him trusting himself that he can make those tough pitches and be able to inch the ball off the plate or inch it down in the zone. Down is going to be the key for him. He's made a lot of mistakes up, as you've seen with these fly balls."
Lyons to be skipped in favor of Wainwright
ST. LOUIS -- Needing insurance in the bullpen and wanting to keep their starters pitching every fifth day, the Cardinals will skip the fifth spot in the rotation and have Adam Wainwright, not Tyler Lyons, pitch Friday's series opener in Chicago.
Friday would have normally been Lyons' turn to pitch, and as recently as Sunday, manager Mike Matheny indicated that the club expected him to make that start. Since then, however, the Cardinals watched as Wainwright had no recurring issues with a hyperextended knee and found themselves needing Lyons available in the 'pen.
Since pitching on Friday, reliever Kevin Siegrist has been sidelined with back tightness. Though Matheny said Siegrist will likely be available, if needed, beginning on Tuesday, he likes the idea of having another left-hander ready in the bullpen. That's Lyons, who came on in relief of Lance Lynn on Tuesday vs. the Brewers.
By rolling the rotation order sans the fifth spot, the Cardinals won't need that extra starter again until May 6.
"We'll get through one time, see how everybody is doing and reevaluate at that point," Matheny said. "He's going to get work one way or another. At some point, we'll have to refresh him with a good bullpen [session on the side]. But until that point, we have an opportunity to use him."
By skipping Lyons this next time through the rotation, the Cardinals will start Wainwright, Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn in the weekend series against the Cubs.
Slumping Bourjos odd man out for time being
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have had no shortage of slow-starting hitters this season, though their efforts to pull them out of their respective funks have varied.
For Allen Craig and Jhonny Peralta -- a pair of hitters with proven track records at the Major League level -- the Cardinals have afforded them the opportunity to hit out of skids. Kolten Wong was sent back to Triple-A Memphis to do so, with the club believing everyday at-bats could help Wong get back on track.
Peter Bourjos finds himself stuck in a spot in between.
He remains on the big league club but without clarity of role or playing time to come. The Cardinals' need for offense prompted manager Mike Matheny to ride Jon Jay through his hot streak. Jay has recently cooled, but now it's Randal Grichuk (like Bourjos, a right-handed hitter) who is getting a look.
Grichuk made his first career start on Tuesday and collected his first Major League hit in his second-inning at-bat.
"It's tough to get in a rhythm," said Bourjos. "Any time you're in and out of it, it's not an easy thing to go through. But the team, offensively, hasn't been producing like we know it can. Obviously, somebody has to take less playing time to get the rhythm going, and it's been me so far."
Bourjos entered Tuesday hitless in his last 16 at-bats, a stretch that goes back to April 15. In that span, Bourjos has only made three starts, forcing him to try and get right without the playing time typically needed to do so. That said, Bourjos also believes his swing isn't that far from where it needs to be for him to contribute.
That's why, though he is taking extra swings in the batting cage to try and stay sharp, Bourjos is not trying to overhaul his mechanics at the same time.
"I think you try to go in there every at-bat and not change too much," Bourjos said. "When you're not in the lineup, a lot of guys start changing stuff. You've got to stay consistent with your approach and what you work on in the cage. In the past, when I've been in and out of the lineup, I've sat there and tried to change so many different things. That's the worst thing you can do. I think you want to be as calm in the box as you can, and be simple."
While the Cardinals were excited to acquire the defensively sound center fielder in a November trade, the club has not indicated if and when it intends to get Bourjos back into the regular mix in center.
"Basically, the assignment for us is to be as honest with him as possible, and our thought process is we have to get you going, but we have to get our club going too," Matheny said. "And if we have an opportunity to bring a player [i.e. Grichuk] in that can give us a jolt, we're going to make a shot at it."
Adams returning to use of elbow brace
ST. LOUIS -- Matt Adams has chosen to once again wear an elbow brace in an effort to prevent any hyperextension of his right arm. Adams said his recent return to the brace was not dictated by renewed discomfort.
Adams plans to wear the brace for the rest of the season.
"The elbow is 100 percent fine," Adams said after taking batting practice on Tuesday. "It felt good in Spring Training. I just wanted to see what it felt like with it off. It's going to be a thing to help my elbow not get overextended. With a long season, it's smart to put it back on and make sure that elbow stays 100 percent."
Adams has not been bothered by his right elbow since last September, when discomfort first led him to don the brace. He continued to wear it through the postseason and took his first swings of spring with it still on before temporarily deciding it was unnecessary.
Adams has been cautious with the elbow since having season-ending surgery in August 2012 to remove bone spurs.
"I have encouraged him in the past when I saw him doing this [hyperextending] thing," manager Mike Matheny said. "He would say he just had a zinger or something along those lines. I would remind him that, 'Hey, when you were wearing that thing back in September and October, you were hitting all right.' I'm always trying to let them know that they have the freedom. I'm not going to freak out if they have a brace or a wrap or something. We want to keep him healthy."
Cards set to announce '14 Hall of Fame class
ST. LOUIS -- Prior to Wednesday's afternoon series finale, the Cardinals will announce the members of their 2014 Hall of Fame class. The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 12:32 p.m. CT and will be shown as part of the Cardinals' pregame show on FOX Sports Midwest.
The Cardinals' Hall of Fame, free to the public, recently opened on the second floor of Cardinals Nation inside Ballpark Village. The plaques of 22 inductees -- those whose numbers are retired by the organization and those who are enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame -- have already been hung in that gallery.
Three, and possibly four, other Cardinals will soon join them.
Two of those inductees will come from a modern-day ballot of eight players -- those who have played at least three years in St. Louis and are at least three years into retirement -- that was put together by members of a Red Ribbon committee that the organization formed. Fans began casting their votes for those players -- Jim Edmonds, Bob Forsch, Keith Hernandez, Willie McGee, Mark McGwire, Matt Morris, Ted Simmons and Joe Torre -- in March, and the seven-week voting period ended last week.
A veteran player will also be elected -- someone who has been retired for 40 or more years and who played at least three years for the Cardinals. This player was chosen through a secret balloting process by the committee members.
If the Cardinals see fit, they can also add a fourth member to the class by electing a non-player who has made substantial contributions to the organization. This could be a coach, broadcaster, front-office member or the like.
The Cardinals plan to hold the official induction ceremony on Aug. 16.
• Aledmys Diaz, the Cuban shortstop St. Louis signed in March, has been placed on the seven-day Double-A disabled list with an upper back/lat strain, according to general manager John Mozeliak. Diaz has been prescribed a treatment plan of rest and therapy. Diaz was batting .307/.321/.520 with nine extra-base hits and 16 RBIs in 20 games for Springfield before the injury.
• Joe Kelly (left hamstring strain) played long toss again on Tuesday, though the Cardinals have still not announced an expected date for the right-hander to return to the mound. Kelly will not come off the 15-day DL when eligible on Friday, and he is expected to need at least one Minor League rehab start before returning later in May.
• After missing time due to a personal matter, hitting coach John Mabry returned to the club on Tuesday.
• Top prospect Oscar Taveras extended his hitting streak to 12 games on Monday with a 2-for-4 performance that included a double and a home run. He homered in Sunday's game, as well, and now has five on the season for Triple-A Memphis.
• The Cardinals announced Tuesday night that left-hander Jaime Garcia will begin a Minor League rehab assignment when he starts for Double-A Springfield on Sunday. Garcia, who was stalled this spring by left shoulder bursitis, can remain on that rehab assignment for a maximum of 30 days. He has already made two starts in extended spring games.
• Reliever Jason Motte is also expected to join Garcia in Springfield over the weekend as long as all goes well in an extended spring appearance on Wednesday. Motte is nearly 12 months removed from undergoing Tommy John surgery.
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.