St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter was not available to play Wednesday and could miss most of the four-game series in Washington while on paternity leave.
Carpenter’s wife, Mackenzie, gave birth Wednesday to the couple’s first child, a daughter. Carpenter’s absence Wednesday meant he was unable to face his former Texas Christian University teammate, Chicago Cubs pitcher Jake Arrieta.
The Cardinals lost to Arrieta and the Cubs 9-8.
“He let us know early (Wednesday) morning that things were changing,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of the news surrounding Carpenter’s wife. “I don’t think the news around here is nearly as important as the news he had there. Things are progressing.”
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Matheny said Carpenter would have played Wednesday had he been available.
Players are allowed to miss no more than three games while on paternity leave. By rule, the Cardinals could replace Carpenter with a player from their 40-man roster.
“We’ll take it a day at a time,” Matheny said. “We originally had a plan that we thought maybe would carry into this weekend, but things are all subject to change.”
Asked whether the Cardinals would have a player waiting for them Thursday in Washington to replace Carpenter, Matheny said: “Possibly.”
“We’ve got to just kind of go step by step with this,” he said. “Just keep him in (the) conversation and have some contingency plans in place. But we’re not committed to one thing or another. This is all brand-new territory. For those of us who have been through that, that first time is pretty stressful, not knowing what to expect.
“This is a big deal. We want to make sure he’s there. We know they have a lot of family coming in. That will be a help, but that’s not always the answer. That can actually be more on your plate. There’s a lot going on for him right now.”
After the game, Matheny said the Cardinals still weren’t sure about what their plans were with Carpenter likely to remain in St. Louis as the road trip begins Thursday.
Shortstop Jhonny Peralta collected two hits Tuesday in his rehab game for the low-Class A Peoria Chiefs of the Midwest League.
Peralta, recovering from the torn ligament in his left thumb, is 3-for-10 with one double in his first four rehab games.
“(Peralta) was on the phone with one of the guys when I walked past (Tuesday) night,” Matheny said. “He was all excited. He got a couple of hits, which is always a good thing. He was joking, asking when he was going to get called up.”
Matheny doesn’t anticipate that Peralta will join the team in Washington. He said Peralta’s rehab is not connected with Carpenter’s imminent paternity leave.
“That’s not anything that’s being discussed,” Matheny said. “We can squelch that one. We don’t have an exact plan about how all this looks like. ... (Peralta) needs to continue to build up.”
Catcher Brayan Pena will not travel with the Cardinals to Washington and Milwaukee, instead staying behind to continue his rehab from knee surgery.
“I would go on the road, but we don’t have the facilities and stuff we have here, so I might as well stay back,” Pena said. “I’ll push it this next week and then go from there.”
Pena will catch in the bullpen Thursday, catching a few pitches from one of the Cardinals’ trainers. He has not squatted to catch pitches since the surgery.
“Hopefully, it will be a great day,” said Pena, who has been running at full speed. “I’m not Billy Hamilton or (Kolten) Wong, but Brayan Pena full-speed.”
Pena doesn’t want to rush his recovery.
“I’ve got to be smart about it,” he said. “It’s kind of like, don’t push it, but at the same time, push it. Be aggressive, but be a smart aggressive. We don’t want any setbacks.”
The Cardinals acquired outfielder Jose Martinez from the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday for cash considerations.
Martinez, 27, was recently designated for assignment by the Royals. He hasn’t played above the Class AAA level.
Martinez was batting .298 with 10 doubles, three home runs and 18 RBIs in 37 games at Triple-A Omaha. He hit .384 with 25 doubles, 10 homers, 60 RBIs and a .461 on-base percentage in 98 games last season when he won the Pacific Coast League batting championship.
Martinez was assigned to Class AAA Memphis. To make room for Martinez on their 40-man roster, the Cardinals moved pitcher Mitch Harris from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list.