The Cardinals have placed star infielder Matt Carpenter on the 15-day DL with an oblique strain, the club announced. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by catcher Michael McKenry, whose contract will be purchased.
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Things weren’t looking good from the moment Carpenter walked off the field clutching his side last night, as the club sent signals that there was significant concern. His timeline remains unknown, and will obviously depend upon how he progresses, but this is the sort of injury that will need to fully clear up before a player can attempt a rehab assignment.
St. Louis has now lost two huge bats from its lineup in short succession. First baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss is also out with an ankle injury. Both rate among the top 15 players in the National League by measure of wRC+ (minimum 250 plate appearances). That’s quite a bit off offense to strip out of a lineup, even if one or both can return without lengthy absences.
Fortunately for the Cards, other developments over the course of the year will help to fill the void. Aledmys Diaz has emerged as a quality option at short, while Jhonny Peralta is back (though he has been dealing with pain in his surgically-repaired thumb). Kolten Wong and Jedd Gyorko remain on hand, though neither has been particularly productive, while Matt Adams has been plenty capable at the plate at first.
The situation behind the dish is another area of concern, though, as the club recently lost Eric Fryer on waivers when it brought back reserve Bryan Pena. Now the latter has returned to the DL, leaving first-time big leaguer Alberto Rosario as the back-up to Yadier Molina. Now McKenry will help bolster that unit. He’s not well-regarded with the glove, but has shown life with the bat and owns a useful .301/.424/.569 batting line in 151 Triple-A plate appearances on the year.