Jason Heyward was not in the St. Louis Cardinals’ lineup Tuesday night, but the outfielder apparently has avoided a significant injury to his left hamstring.
“Even with the tests they did, and getting some of the reports back, it looks even more like a cramp than anything else,” said St. Louis manager Mike Matheny, who didn’t believe cramping was an issue when the injury occurred Monday. “There’s some swelling, but it could be an issue where it was a cramp more than anything else. We’re going to continue to go slow, but it is a good report.”
Heyward left the game in the third inning Monday. He started in center field for Randal Grichuk, who before the game was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow.
The Cardinals’ outfield configuration Tuesday against San Francisco was Brandon Moss in left, recently recalled Tommy Pham in center and Stephen Piscotty in right.
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Matheny said the genesis for Heyward’s discomfort could have been dehydration.
“He did quite a bit of work before the game (Monday). He just couldn’t get himself loose to where he felt good,” said Matheny, who wouldn’t hazard a guess as to when Heyward will be cleared to return to action. St. Louis has one more game against the Giants on Wednesday, then begin a three-game series Friday in San Diego.
Pham replaced Heyward on Monday and was 0-for-3.
Pham’s recent hot stretch in Class AAA Memphis has elevated him over Peter Bourjos for playing time in St. Louis. Bourjos began Tuesday in an 0-for-16 skid.
“Really, what we were looking for is who was down there playing the best at that particular time,” Matheny said of Pham’s call-up when Grichuk was disabled. “Tommy’s been hot. We just need him to jump in there and do whatever he was doing in Memphis. I think he can play a good center field and gives us speed on the bases.”
Matheny talked about the need to “get (Bourjos) going.”
“Right now, he hasn’t had a whole lot of opportunties, but he’s one of those guys who if we get him in there and he takes off, guess what? He’s probably going to be playing. It’s just getting him those chances. But Tommy has been a a guy that’s set himself apart in Memphis. He’s been that player that’s kind of stood out. He might be the difference-maker for us right now.”