Dehydration caused first baseman Matt Carpenter’s exit from the St. Louis Cardinals’ 5-3 defeat to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
Carpenter was thrown out at home in the first inning, then was replaced because of tightness in his right quad. Carpenter did not start Monday in an 8-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies, replaced by rookie Luke Voit.
Carpenter shooed away reporters from his clubhouse cubicle before the game.
“He’s much better,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “It was mostly related to dehydration, actually. He’s stronger today and should be available at some point during this game. Hopefully, he’ll start (Tuesday).”
Carpenter is batting .248 with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs. He hasn’t homered since June 24, a span of 24 games and 83 at-bats.
DeJong hits third
Paul DeJong batted third for the first time in his career, becoming the Cardinals’ first rookie shortstop to hit in that spot since Red Schoendienst did it for six games in 1945. Jhonny Peralta, Edgar Renteria, Royce Clayton, Ozzie Smith, Garry Templeton and Dick Groat are the only other Cardinals shortstops to bat third.
DeJong was 2-for-5 with an RBI.
DeJong has 25 extra-base hits (13 doubles, 12 homers) in his first 46 games, second-most among rookies behind the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger (43).
“Paulie has definitely had the kind of at-bats that have given him a chance, at least, to go into a different spot,” Matheny said. “He’s been real effective in the (No.) 8 spot. So has Grich (Randal Grichuk). We’ll let Grich continue to try to be dangerous at the bottom.”
Grichuk hit a fourth-inning two-run homer, his fourth homer in four games.
DeJong, who turns 24 on Aug. 2, isn’t surprised by his production, which included a .574 slugging percentage heading into Monday. The only down side to his game thus far is a .299 on-base percentage, with just four walks (one intentional) in 174 plate appearances.
“This is who I am,” DeJong said. “I’m still trying to make improvements, make adjustments. I think everyone in this game needs to do that. Pitchers start to figure me out sometimes, but it’s about focusing on the day-to-day and playing the game hard. For me, that’s what I like to do and it’s who I am as a player.”
Catcher Carson Kelly could be in St. Louis to stay with the Cardinals cutting ties with Eric Fryer. For the time being, Kelly will continue his tutelage under future Hall of Famer Yadier Molina.
“It’s great,” said Kelly, recalled Friday from Class AAA Memphis. “Any time you get the call and get to come up here and be with the big-league club, it’s definitely a great feeling.”
Kelly won’t receive the playing time he did in Memphis but said he won’t waver.
“I’m sticking to me routine and believing in what I’ve done so far,” he said. “You’re always in every pitch, every play. You act as if you’re in there.”
Kelly batted .283 with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs in 83 games in Memphis. He was the starting catcher in the Pacific Coast League’s All-Star Game.
“Being up here for the second time is more of a comfort thing,” Kelly said. “(But) you’ve got to take it day by day because tomorrow is out of your control. We don’t know what’s going to happen. You take it day by day and moment by moment. That’s how I’ve lived my life so far and it’s worked out pretty good.”
Piscotty’s point of view
Another injured Cardinal, right fielder Stephen Piscotty (right groin strain) said he believes he’s close to a return. Until then, however, Piscotty will be in an observer’s role.
Piscotty called his season a “rocky road.” He is batting .236 with six homers and 31 RBIs in 69 games after hitting .273 with 35 doubles, 22 homers and 85 RBIs in 153 games in 2016.
Piscotty speculated on the final week before the nonwaiver trade deadline.
“A lot could happen,” he said.
“I think the guys, from my impression of watching the last road trip, are right in games and being competitive,” Piscotty continued. “I think we’re right there. We’re 4 1/2 (games) back. There’s only about two more months, but there’s still plenty of time (to make up) four games. It’s not out of the question.”
David Wilhelm: @DavidMWilhelm