CHICAGO -- For the second consecutive day, Cardinals outfielder Nick Stavinoha was regulated to pinch-hitting duty. Stavinoha is battling a stiff knee, which Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said he "jammed up a bit" during Thursday's win in Pittsburgh.
"[Stavinoha is] just going to be a pinch-hitter today," La Russa said on the field before Saturday's game.
Stavinoha pinch-hit for John Jay in Friday's game, grounding out in the top of the ninth. Skip Schumaker came on to play right field in the bottom half on the inning. La Russa said that it would remain a game-day decision whether Stavinoha was ready to resume a full-time role.
"I'm just going day-to-day on that," said La Russa.
Stavinoha is batting .263 with two homers and nine RBIs in 76 games for the Cardinals this season. He leads the Cardinals in pinch-hits, going 15-for-50 (.300) off the bench. He was in the original batting order for Friday's game, but was scratched after batting practice. Allen Craig started in his place and hit a three-run homer in the first inning off Cubs starter Tom Gorzelanny.
"It could just as easily have been Nick that knocked one out," La Russa said after Friday's game. "We've got enough depth on the club where we can make some things happen."
Hawksworth injured by line drive
CHICAGO -- Cardinals right-hander Blake Hawksworth was injured on a frightening play in the bottom of the fifth inning of Saturday's loss to the Cubs.
Hawksworth came on in relief of starter Chris Carpenter and, after he struck out Alfonso Soriano, Sam Fuld ripped a line shot right back at the Cardinals' reliever, who flung his hand in front of his face too late. The ball struck him flush in the face, near the mouth, and Hawksworth went to ground, where he remained for several minutes.
Trainers for both teams and several Cardinals players were huddled around Hawksworth, and Tony La Russa, who had been ejected by home-plate umpire Joe West between the top and bottom of the fourth inning, ran down from the clubhouse and out to the mound to check on his fallen hurler.
A woozy Hawksworth was finally helped off the field, as a Cardinals trainer held a towel to his face and held him steady as he descended the clubhouse steps. The Cardinals said that Hawksworth, who was conscious, was taken to a Chicago hospital for treatment.
"He's getting a CT scan," said La Russa. "There are going to be quite a few stitches. He never lost consciousness, but there's a chance he might have to have some dental work. We'll just have wait see what the scan says."
The first thing Cubs manager Mike Quade did in his postgame press conference was to ask how Hawksworth was doing.
"It is a dangerous game," Quade said.
Fuld, whose drive struck Hawksworth, was visibly upset as he stood near first base after the play. Fuld said that he has tried to communicate with Hawksworth to make sure he's OK.
"I was a bit rattled when it happened," Fuld said. "It's something that's never happened to me before. Between that and the incident with Tyler [Colvin], it's scary. This is a dangerous game, and people don't realize that. You try to avoid it as much as you can."
Colvin was injured last week when a bat splintered as he led off third base and struck him in the chest, puncturing one of his lungs and ending his season.
Cardinals hanging by a thread
CHICAGO -- Long after the Cardinals finished off their victory over the Cubs on Friday afternoon, there was an exciting game played in San Diego. Miguel Tejada hit a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the seventh, lifting the Padres to a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the NL Central-leading Reds. The result kept Cincinnati's magic number frozen at three, and reduced the Reds' lead over the Cardinals to 6 1/2 games. Cincinnati has eight games remaining, while St. Louis has nine more outings.
Are the Cardinals still paying attention?
"It's no fun unless you have a dream," said manager Tony La Russa.
Saturday's schedule had the Cardinals and Cubs in the early slot, with a 12:05 CT first pitch. The Reds and Padres were slated for 3:10 CT, a game which may having varying degrees of interest for St. Louis' players, depending upon whether the deficit is six or seven games when Cincinnati takes the field. In any event, the focus remained on beating the Cubs, because with a loss, the Reds could clinch a tie by beating the Padres later on Saturday.
"First thing is that you've got to take care of your business," said La Russa. "You can't stop dreaming and thinking it's over, because it isn't. You might as well believe in the dream as long as you can."
Garcia is done for the season
CHICAGO -- Cardinals rookie Jaime Garcia will sit out the rest of the season, putting an end to his highly successful rookie campaign.
"Garcia is done," said Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan. "But he's healthy."
Garcia is fine, physically, but the club believes that the 163 1/3 innings he's thrown this year are plenty. Garcia underwent Tommy John surgery after the 2008 season, and threw just 37 2/3 Minor League innings in 2009.
The Cardinals are still mathematically alive in the playoff race, but Duncan says that, even if a scenario emerges in which St. Louis wins five in a row and the Reds lose five straight, Garcia won't make another start.
"No, as of right now, there is no way we're changing that," said Duncan.
Garcia, who leads all rookie pitchers with 13 wins, stands fourth in the league with a 2.70 ERA. His win total is the most by a Cardinals rookie since Andy Benes in 1996. The club record is 21 wins by Johnny Beazley in 1942.
Garcia's absence means that veteran Jeff Suppan will remain in the rotation. Also, Duncan said that the Cardinals have tweaked their rotation to line up the top hurlers for the season-ending series against the Rockies, who are still in contention.
Suppan will throw on Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Duncan said rookie P.J. Walters would "probably" start against the Pirates on Wednesday. For the four-game series against Colorado, Duncan said the order would be Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter and Jake Westbrook for the first three games. The club is undecided about the starter for the regular-season finale against the Rockies on Oct. 3.
Hot Holliday may edge Pujols
CHICAGO -- Sure, it may only be a one-year blip, but there may be a changing of the guard this season atop the Cardinals' leader board for one of the Triple Crown categories.
Matt Holliday continued his late-season kick with a single, two walks and a run scored in the Cardinals' series-opening win over the Cubs on Friday. The hit extended Holliday's hitting streak to 16 games, the longest active streak in the Majors. Holliday is hitting .431 during the streak (25-of-58), which raises his season batting average to .315, the highest it's been since April 20.
Holliday entered Saturday's game at Wrigley Field fourth in the National League in batting. Right behind him is teammate Albert Pujols, who is at .310 entering Saturday's game. If Holliday maintains his edge in average, he'll become the first Cardinals hitter other than Pujols in a decade to lead the club in in batting average. The year before Pujols burst upon the scene in 2001, Fernando Vina topped the club with a .300 average. Since then, it's been all Albert.
Holliday has four of the six longest hitting streaks on the Cardinals this season. He hasn't gone more than two straight games without a hit since April 17.
The Cardinals recalled Minor League 25-year-old catcher Steven Hill on Friday, after it was announced that starter Yadier Molina was done for the season. Hill went 1-for-3 with a homer on Aug. 15 against the Cubs in his first and only big league appearance to date. ... Albert Pujols (41), Matt Holliday (27) and Colby Rasmus (23) have combined for 91 homers in 2010, the most by any trio in the National League this season ... By the time the Cardinals wrap up the regular season on Oct. 3, they will have played 31 games in 31 days to finish the season.
Bradford Doolittle is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.