ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- In the wake of Monday’s 5-0 loss the Cubs, the Cardinals spent a good portion of Tuesday’s news cycle in the spotlight again. A news item published by the New York Daily News’ Kate Feldman claimed Jason Heyward was not only showered with boos in his return to Busch Stadium, but was also subjected to racial epithets.
The internet spent much of the day debating the validity of the story, and several secondary outlets parsed game footage trying to find any evidence the claims were true. The Cardinals did the same, and found nothing.
“Right now it doesn’t seem like there’s anything backing the [claim] that it did happen,” Mike Matheny said before Tuesday’s game. “Our PR people went to all the feeds and they didn’t have anything or any record of it, so that’s good. But it just shows you how, if in fact this did not happen, how quick something can happen virally with social media. It’s a shame.”
When asked by Chicago beat writers, Heyward denied hearing any racial taunts from the stands...
#Cubs Heyward says he didn't hear any racial taunts from fans Monday night at Busch— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) April 19, 2016
...as did center fielder Dexter Fowler, who spent the game next to him in the outfield.
#Cubs Fowler surprised by reports of racial slurs directed at Heyward last night. He didn't hear anything— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) April 19, 2016
The rookie rests
Aledmys Diaz, whose surprise offensive tear has given the Cardinals a much-needed boost in the season’s early going, will begin Tuesday’s game as a spectator.
Ruben Tejada, signed this spring as a replacement for injured shortstop Jhonny Peralta, will get the start over the rookie. Tejada is back in action after a quad injury sent him to the disabled list to start the season.
Manager Mike Matheny was clear Diaz’s benching had nothing to do with his error in the seventh inning Tuesday that opened the door for three Chicago runs. Matheny stressed that days off have been issued for just about everyone in the lineup, and Diaz is no exception. He also remains confident in the 25-year-old’s development at the position.
“He looks like a shortstop to me. He’s got hands, a good arm, a good first step and good athleticism. All the way across the board, he looks like a shortstop,” Matheny said. “He just needs to make sure he’s doing everything he can and also not dwelling on the negative because he’s done a lot of things right.”
Diaz has 14 hits, nine of which were for extra bases. His .400 average is third in the NL among hitters with at least 30 at bats.
Tejada will bat eighth behind Kolten Wong. Here is the full lineup: