Second baseman Mark Ellis was unavailable to play Monday night for the St. Louis Cardinals, and the reason was revealed Tuesday.
The Cardinals have placed the 37-year-old veteran on the disabled list with a strained left oblique. The move is retroactive to Friday, meaning Ellis could return as early as Aug. 30.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny did not know how Ellis was injured, and Ellis did not add any light to the subject.
"It is what it is," the normally affable Ellis said through team spokesman Brian Bartow, declining further comment.
What Matheny did know is Ellis, batting .192 with no home runs and 12 RBIs, suffered the injury during the pregame Monday.
"There wasn't anything kind of building up," Matheny said. "It just happened all of a sudden. I found out after batting practice."
Greg Garcia, 25, has been recalled from Class AAA Memphis. Garcia was batting .275 with eight home runs and 40 RBIs in 103 games for the Redbirds. He is batting .367 in August.
"I'm just trying to take consistent at-bats, really," Garcia said. "I'm trying to battle every time I'm out there. I feel good."
It will be Garcia's second stint with the Cardinals this season. He was with the club April 28 through May 13 and batted .200 (2-for-10) with one RBI. He was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded on May 13 as the Cardinals edged the Chicago Cubs.
"I think he's had the kind of year that deserves to get an opportunity to help us," said Matheny, adding that the Cardinals wanted Garcia's left-handed bat off the bench. "He's had a nice season. He's a pretty versatile guy."
With Ellis sidelined, Daniel Descalso and Tony Cruz are still available to back up Matt Adams at first base. Garcia, if necessary, could also play the position, as could Matt Carpenter.
Given his past experience, albeit brief, Garcia isn't overwhelmed with the promotion.
"Just being up here, I'm a little bit more comfortable with the surroundings and the facilities," Garcia said. "I come in here today and the guys treat me like I never left, and that's just the clubhouse we have here. I'm fortunate to be a part of it."
Memphis extended its winning streak to a season-best nine Monday. The Redbirds began Tuesday with a 71-58 record, one game ahead of the second-place Nashville Sounds (70-59) in the Southern Division of the Pacific Coast League.
The regular season closes Sept. 1.
"It was definitely fun down there playing," Garcia said. "A lot of guys are having good months. It's a good group down there."
Garcia would have enjoyed being at Memphis for the stretch run, but a call to the big leagues always trumps time in the minors.
"You want to play; everyone wants to play," Garcia said. "I'm probably coming off the bench, a utility type of deal. It's about embracing the role, but not accepting it.
"We all want to be starters at one point in our careers. It's (about) getting your foot in the door. Right now, I know what my role is and I want to do the best I can for this team and help them win."
Shortstop Jhonny Peralta, playing in the National League for the first time in his career, has been everything the Cardinals envisioned when they signed him to a four-year, $53-million contract.
Peralta, who had the game-winning single in the 10th inning Monday and homered Tuesday, has 49 extra-base hits (32 doubles, 17 home runs) lead the Cardinals. The 17 homers are the most ever by a St. Louis shortstop.
"The more I play, I feel better and better," Peralta said of adapting to the new league. "I know the pitchers more and more and I feel better at home plate. Every day, you need to make adjustments. I know I haven't seen every pitcher in the National League yet. I know I need to face more."
Peralta was 8-for-20 in the first four games of the homestand and was 18-for-46 in his last 12 games, raising his average 15 points.
Motte works out
Injured reliever Jason Motte, out with a lower back strain, played catch Tuesday for the first time since the injury.
Motte said he made 15 throws from 90 feet.