Defensive play has not been a strength for the St. Louis Cardinals early in the season.
The Cardinals began Tuesday with 15 errors, 13 of them by infielders. St. Louis shortstops Aledmys Diaz (four), Jedd Gyorko (two) and Greg Garcia (one) have seven of them.
Regular shortstop Jhonny Peralta, who is recovering from surgery on his torn left thumb ligament, committed eight errors all of last season.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny doesn’t seem concerned about the high error total by his shortstops.
“Errors happen. That’s part of it,” Matheny said. “I’m not saying it’s a weak spot. Errors happen.”
Diaz and Gyorko were on the bench and Garcia was back at Class AAA Memphis on Tuesday for the second game of the series against the Chicago Cubs.
Ruben Tejada, activated from the disabled list Monday after three rehabilitation games with Class AA Springfield, made his first start of the season.
“I’m healthy again and ready to play,” said Tejada, who suffered a strained left quad in the Cardinals’ final Grapefruit League game March 31. “I was concentrating on starting the season here and then I went on the (disabled list). That’s in the past now. ... I’m here to play my game. I know my game and I’ll try to help the team win.”
Diaz was on the field taking grounders four hours before the game Tuesday. After a short break, he was back for more, this time with Tejada, during the Cardinals’ batting practice.
“It’s my routine every day,” said Diaz, whose throwing error in the seventh inning Monday fueled the Cubs’ three-run outburst. “We’ve got an excellent coaching staff. They help me a lot. I’m always trying to get my mind set for the game.”
Diaz’s bat certainly isn’t keeping him out of the lineup. He is hitting .400 (14-for-35) with a team-high six doubles along with two home runs and eight RBIs in 11 games.
“Ruben’s going to need to play,” Matheny said. “There’s quite a few of you wondering if Ruben was going to play (Monday). Everybody is going to have to get their opportunity.”
Matheny said Tejada brings “experience.”
“The guy’s played a lot of shortstop at this level,” Matheny said. “That’s always helpful.”
Tejada’s will allow Diaz to get extra work he needs on days he’s not playing.
“The more you work, the more it becomes second nature,” Matheny said. “You’ll see that confidence start to build. He’s been making some nice plays, too. He looks like a shortstop to me. He’s got hands, he’s got a good arm, a good first step, good athleticism. All the way across the board, he looks like a shortstop.”
Forget the hype
Matheny doesn’t let the hype of the Cubs-Cardinals series get in his head.
“It’s just another game,” he said. “We’ve got to win every game we play. I think everybody knows, and our guys are excited, about the electricity in the stands. We’re not oblivious to all the hype that’s come around this (series).
“But as far as what we do, what we do should be the same. Just prepare, go get your work done, get your mind ready and have a good game plan. Then it comes down to execution. Don’t make too much out of it. But enjoy it, too. I think that’s another message.”
Cubs left fielder and catcher Kyle Schwarber underwent surgery in Dallas on Tuesday to repair the torn ACL and LCL in his left knee. Daniel Cooper, the Dallas Cowboys team physician, performed the procedure.
Schwarber suffered the season-ending injuries April 7 in a warninbg-track collision with Dexter Fowler in Arizona.
“It sounds like everything went as well as you could have hoped,” Cubs General Manager Jed Hoyer said. “(Cooper) is really an expert on multiple ligament surgeries. We tried to find the best person in the world.”
Schwarber faces a long rehab, but the Cubs expect him back in time for the 2017 season.
“He knows what’s ahead,” Hoyer said. “He was in good spirits before. I think he’s gotten over the initial shock. He’ll dominate this rehab. He’ll work incredibly hard.”