Cardinals still dinged by injury entering crucial stretch -

Cardinals still dinged by injury entering crucial stretch

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ST. LOUIS ( -- With a four-game series against the under performing Padres set to begin, the Cardinals are hoping to close the health gaps that have handicapped them the past month.

Brandon Moss and Matt Carpenter, the former out because of a sprained ankle and the latter dealing with a torn oblique, played catch on the field before the game Monday.

While both appeared to throw without any restrictions, the Cardinals do not yet have a firm return date on either player.

Tommy Pham got the nod in center field for the opening game of the series, as Randal Grichuk is dealing with knee tightness and will play left.

“Randal has been a little bit off as far as his running goes. He’s been trying to get some extra stretching in and so forth,” Mike Matheny said. “His knee had tightened up a little bit, not enough to keep him out of the lineup, but one of those things that you’re conscious of. It could limit that extra step that you need.”

Pham is a natural center fielder, and said before the game he feels more comfortable with room to run.

Jhonny Peralta, after being double-switched out of the game Sunday, is out of the lineup Monday.

The shortstop-turned-third baseman is suffering from a thumb injury and needs rest to let the discomfort subside. The organization maintains it is unrelated to his earlier surgery, rather a secondary injury that popped up later.

“It seems like some of the check swings or the swings and misses, something is just kind of grabbing there. Had it looked at today and the doctors say it flared up a little bit. Not from the surgically repaired spot, but the spot that set him back last time,” Matheny said.

Peralta has been dealing with soreness in a different spot in his thumb for weeks. The violence exacted on the hands during a hitter’s swing mechanics make recovery tough, meaning rest is the likely cure for the 34 year old.

“It just seems to keep showing up. We’re trying to get a little ahead of it,” Matheny said.

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