-- Mike Matheny is back after missing yesterday's game versus the Astros with what he calls a "double whammy". Not only did Matheny have a herniated disc in his back (something he's convinced comes from his days catching) but he also had food poisoning (let's just say he won't be eating goat cheese anytime soon). He says he could've managed to go yesterday if it were just his back. But with the food poisoning he just couldn't do it. He stayed back and had the medical staff take care of him.
-- Carlos Beltran (toe) was originally in the Cardinals lineup against the Nationals but is a late scratch. As Matheny noted, he's still "too tender". Oscar Taveras will play RF and bat second. Beltran is still going to leave today for the World Baseball Classic but it's too soon to say how much this injury will affect him. It'll have to be a wait and see thing for him while there.
-- Speaking of the WBC, Fernando Salas will pitch for Team Mexico while also trying to audition for a job in St. Louis. It's not lock that Salas makes this team and leaving for a little while certainly makes it more difficult to evaluate him. Matheny says they'll watch his pitching as much as they can but they would never want to take away an opportunity for these guys to pitch for their country.
-- Rafael Furcal (elbow) will not play today as he originally said he would. Matheny says there is still no timetable for him to get into a game. I asked how much time Furcal needs to get ready for the regular season and Matheny said last year he apparentely didn't need much.
-- At some point, Matt Carpenter is going to get a lot of repetitions at first base, third base, left field and right field but for now the Cards want him focusing exclusively at second. They want him to get used to all the little things that can happen so he can develop the instincts necessary for the regular season. Then, at some point, he'll get a few reps at his other spots to make sure he's ready to go there too.