The Cardinals placed third baseman Matt Carpenter on the injured list Tuesday because of lower back spasms, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. They recalled reliever John Brebbia from Triple-A Memphis to take Carpenter’s roster spot. Expectations are Carpenter will return July 12, the first game of the season’s second half, as Mark Saxon of The Athletic tweets. Injury aside, the normally excellent Carpenter is one of several Cardinals to come up short of expectations so far in 2019. The 33-year-old’s off to a .216/.325/.381 start (90 wRC+) with 10 home runs in 326 plate appearances, putting him on pace to fall way shy of last season’s 36-HR outburst. Carpenter hasn’t started since last Tuesday, which has left third base to Tommy Edman and Yairo Munoz over the past week.
Here’s more on a few other notable injury situations…
- The Cubs seem to have dodged a worst-case scenario with injured southpaw Cole Hamels, who suffered a strained left oblique last Friday. Manager Joe Maddon revealed Tuesday that Hamels is “feeling a lot better quicker than we anticipated,” adding the 35-year-old’s MRI delivered positive results (via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times). However, there’s still no timetable for the return of Hamels, who has joined the just-returned Kyle Hendricks as one of the Cubs’ top two starters this season.
- A right knee sprain forced Athletics right fielder Stephen Piscotty to the IL last Sunday. While an MRI didn’t show a tear, Piscotty could still miss a month of action, according to manager Bob Melvin (via Martin Gallegos of MLB.com). Meanwhile, the Athletics finally activated catcher Chris Herrmann from the IL on Tuesday. Herrmann hasn’t gotten to play for the A’s yet since signing a one-year, $1MM deal with the team in the offseason, having undergone arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in early March. Oakland optioned fellow backstop Beau Taylor to Triple-A Las Vegas to clear a 25-man spot for Herrmann and moved injured catcher Nick Hundley to the 60-day IL to open up 40-man space.
- Rangers All-Star designated hitter/outfielder Hunter Pence suffered a setback during his minor league rehab game Monday, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. There’s no new injury for Pence, who has been out since June 17 with a right groin strain, though it’s now possible he won’t be healthy enough to participate in the All-Star Game. Manager Chris Woodward said Tuesday that Pence is unlikely to return until after the break, but he could still get an at-bat in the Midsummer Classic.