Greg Garcia started at second base Monday as the St. Louis Cardinals idled Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong.
Carpenter continues to battle soreness in the ring finger on his right hand, while Wong is still feeling the effects of a fall Friday in Chicago in which he injured his right shoulder.
“He’s put together some good at-bats,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Garcia before St. Louis absorbed a 15-2 loss to Cincinnati. “We’ve got to get somebody in there who’s in a good spot. We need Greg to be that guy for us.”
Matheny said Carpenter’s finger flares up every time he doesn’t hit a ball squarely or on a swing and a miss.
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“It affects the strength in it,” Matheny said. “You can tell he just isn’t able to finish on some of his swings, so we’re trying to get ahead of that a little bit. It just doesn’t look right. We need to get him into a good place. If taking a day gets him into a good spot ... so be it. If it takes more than that, then somebody else jumps in there and helps us do it.”
Matheny said Carpenter refuses to consider using batting gloves to support the hand.
“It was about a month ago I suggested that, and he looked at me like I had four heads. So I think he ruled that one out,” Matheny said.
Diaz flies to Miami
Shortstop Aledmys Diaz didn’t return from Chicago to St. Louis with the team Sunday night. Instead, Diaz traveled Monday to Miami for a service for Jose Fernandez, the Miami Marlins pitcher who died early Sunday morning in a boating accident in Miami.
“It was a place he needed to be,” said Matheny, who expected Diaz to return to St. Louis in time for the game against Cincinnati.
Diaz and Fernandez grew up on the same street in Cuba and had been close friends. The Marlins announced Monday that Fernandez’s No. 16 would be retired.
Diaz, who missed more than a month with a broken right thumb, is battling through shoulder soreness that sent him to the bench in the games Friday and Sunday in Chicago.
“It’s been the strength in his arm that’s really kept him from being who he can be defensively,” Matheny said. “I think it’s also (caused) some confidence issues at the plate. He’s been working with the trainers trying to get his strength right.”
Left fielder Matt Holliday (broken right thumb) saw a doctor Monday and Matheny said “everything came back pretty good.”
“They like how everything’s measuring up,” Matheny said. “”It’s just going to be strength for him. It’s going to be tough to see if we can get him in there and whether it looks right once he does get in there. There’s not a lot of opportunities we’re going to have.”
Matheny indicated that Holliday probably will need at least one more live batting-practice session.
“But that doesn’t necessarily equal game experience,” Matheny said. “We’ll take a good run at it and see how he feels. He’s going to be hitting again and we’ll adjust from there.”
Moss scuffling, Molina rolling
Brandon Moss played left field Monday and was 0-for-3. Moss is in a 6-for-88 slump that has dropped his average to .225.
“He’s hit better than the numbers say, but he’s still not right,” Matheny said. “To me, that means it’s just a matter of time until he gets right. We’re hanging in there without many guys being at the top of their game. They’re just grinding their way through right now.
“Brandon’s always a click away. Whatever makes it go, it can go in a hurry. And it can stick around for a while. I’m anxious to see that happen.”
One Cardinal who hasn’t been struggling is catcher Yadier Molina. He began Monday batting .301 and was used in the No. 3 spot in the order Monday for the sixth time in his career.
Molina was 0-for-2 and saw the end of his 11-game hitting streak.
“There’s not many guys out there hitting .300,” Matheny said. “Yadi’s been taking great at-bats. We need him to continue to do so.”
David Wilhelm: 618-239-2665, @DavidMWilhelm