With the Cardinals leaving St. Louis late Thursday for their final regular-season swing to the West Coast, their host of rehabbing players will also move in different directions.
Whether they’ll have progressed far enough to meet the team when it comes back to Busch Stadium after 10 games is the question.
Matt Adams (torn quadriceps) is set to travel to Florida so that he can soon get some at-bats in minor-league or camp games at the team’s facility in Jupiter, Fla. Matt Holliday (torn quadriceps) and Jordan Walden (rotator cuff) will remain in St. Louis to continue their rehab. And Jon Jay (wrist) is set to join the Cardinals on the road trip as he accelerates his baseball activities after missing 43 games — so far — trying to strengthen the joint.
By the time the Cardinals return Aug. 31, “I’m hoping (the players) are healthier. Whether that means more players available or not …” manager Mike Matheny said. “We better be healthier. That’s the purpose of time. This is a long road trip.”
People are also reading…
Holliday took the field Wednesday to play catch and start what will be a deliberate schedule for his return from a second quadriceps tear in three months. Matheny cautioned that the team “hasn’t put a timetable” on Holliday. First baseman Adams, who has been on the disabled list since May 27, went through a series of physical tests Wednesday to receive clearance to be more aggressive in the field. He took ground balls at first base and participated with teammates in the Cardinals’ light infield practice.
He also continued to take batting practice, without limitations.
“It’s impressive what he’s been able to do,” Matheny said. “I think today was supposed to be 90 percent. I’m not exactly sure how to do 90 percent and not do 100 percent, when you’re talking effort. I think there may be just one more gear. He keeps responding extremely well. Get his swing. Get a good feel for his body on the field again. Those are things that take repetition.”
While Adams is getting that at the team’s spring training complex, Jay will do his work on the road with the major-league team. Jay had his left wrist re-evaluated this week and was given the go-ahead to increase his activity. He started hitting in the cage — soft-toss from a coach. That could advance to hitting against a pitching machine and batting practice shortly. Jay has also spent recent batting practices chasing down fly balls in center to get himself up to speed on defense.
What has kept Jay on the disabled list since July 1 wasn’t just recurring discomfort in his surgically repaired left wrist but weakness in the area. He had difficulty swinging with authority because of the joint’s recovery from offseason surgery.
“I’m a lot stronger now,” he said.
The Cardinals entered Wednesday’s game without their top four outfielders in the lineup: Jay, Holliday and Randal Grichuk (elbow) are on the disabled list, and Jason Heyward spent the previous two days recovering from a hamstring injury that may have been caused by dehydration. Grichuk is 14 to 20 days away from a return. Heyward pinch hit in the eighth inning, grounding out, and is expected back in the lineup as soon as Friday.
Jay said the team’s need for assistance at the positions he’s manned since 2010 is not what’s prompted his increased field work and presence on the road trip.
“I’m just trying to get right,” he said.
PINCH-HIT A PITCHER?
With a bench shortened by injury and his preference to carry an extra reliever, Matheny had a non-traditional thought when asked which of his starting pitchers he might use to hit, in a pinch.“I might borrow Madison Bumgarner,” the Cardinals manager said of the Giants’ ace, who had a pinch-hit single Tuesday night. “See if we can use him for an at-bat or two.”Matheny pivoted from his answer to applaud the improvement starter Lance Lynn has made at the plate. The righthander used to be a “flat out,” his manager said, but has this season proven a more difficult out. He has seven hits this season after having 11 total in his previous three seasons as a starter, and has two doubles this year. That’s not enough though for Matheny to suggest he would use a pitcher to do anything in a pinch-hit situation other than try to drop a bunt.
Lynn “is getting much, much better,” Matheny said. “I’ll leave this up to the pitcher. They like fighting over who is the best bat. Honestly, I’m probably not going to use any of them.”