ST. LOUIS • What appeared momentarily to be a game-changing play at third base in Game 6 of the World Series has become a roster-altering event for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Matt Holliday sprained his right wrist diving back into third base on Thursday night during a pickoff that abbreviated a potential Cardinals' rally. Holliday has been placed on what is essentially a postseason disabled list, and outfielder Adron Chambers has been added to the active roster for tonight's Game 7.
Initial reports from the Cardinals clubhouse had Holliday dealing with a swollen and painful pinky finger on his right hand.
X-rays taken of the digit at the ballpark did not show a break. The club announced officially this afternoon that Holliday sustained a sprained wrist and would be unavailable for tonight's game. Allen Craig is expected to start in left field.
Injuries on both sides will be a story tonight.
Texas Rangers catcher Mike Napoli was taken into the Cardinals' training room after Game 6 to have his left ankle scanned for a sprain or break. He bent it horribly when rushing into second base, and then continued to play and catch on the damaged joint. Nelson Cruz sustained a groin strain in his final at-bat of the game.
Both were advertised as day-to-day late Thursday night.
The wrist injury concludes what's been a wacky and frustrating year for Holliday, the Cardinals' cleanup hitter and left fielder. He started the year with an emergency appendectomy the day after opening day, and things got more difficult and unlucky from there. He dealt with leg injuries, back stiffness, tendinitis in his right hand that happened as a result of aggressive swings, and, of course, a moth flew into his ear.
Major League Baseball had to approve the roster move for Holliday, and the commissioner's office released a statement saying, "MLB Postseason rules provide that injured players can be replaced during the World Series if the severity of the injury, as determined by Major League Baseball, is such that it would require a disabled list assignment during the regular season."
Baseball recently adopted the rule that allowed postseason teams to replace injured players on the roster. The rule is that the player is not available for the series after going on the disabled list. In other words, a player removed from the active roster because of injury in the National League championship series would be ineligible for the World Series.
That is academic in Holliday's case.
Tonight, win or lose, is the final game of the 2011 season.
CARPENTER TO START GAME 7
The Cardinals have decided on Chris Carpenter to start tonight's Game 7.
In two starts, including a win in Game 1, Carpenter allowed four earned runs total in 13 combined innings against the Rangers. In Game 5 on Monday at Texas, Carpenter pitched seven solid innings and allowed two runs on six hits.
Carpenter was the team's choice over Edwin Jackson or Kyle Lohse.
Although no announcement was made after the team's dramatic Game 6 win over Texas, he's the man.
"I've got to think about it," La Russa said shortly after his team's improbable Game 6 victory. "We're going to put it all together and see what makes the most sense."
That sets up Carpenter for what would be his third start of the series, if the Cardinals elect to go to him on three days' rest.
"If you don't (want to pitch), you might as well go home," Carpenter said. "This is a very important game. If you don't want that there's no reason for you to be here. ... We'll see what happens. Everybody is going to be ready. I can tell you that much."
Rain made it possible for Carpenter to be one of the everybody.
The storms that rolled through St. Louis on Wednesday and forced the postponement of Game 6 to Thursday opened up the Cardinals to even consider Carpenter for a starter. It would normally be Lohse's turn in the rotation, but the club had planned to put him the bullpen.
As far as days of rest, the turn would belong to Jackson. The righty walked seven and allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings in a loss in Game 4. Carpenter has been the Cardinals most consistent starter through this series.