JUPITER, Fla. -- Carlos Beltran was a full participant in workouts on Saturday and is targeted to return to Grapefruit League action on Monday. He had been away from the club since Wednesday while dealing with the flu.
Though he did not play in Saturday's game against the Marlins, Beltran took batting practice, shagged fly balls and did outfield work prior to the afternoon contest. Manager Mike Matheny said he would hold Beltran out of games all weekend to give him enough time to return to full strength. When Beltran returns to the field on Monday, he'll serve as the Cardinals' designated hitter.
Beltran's only spring appearance came last Monday, when he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He did not play the outfield in that game.
Also on the mend is Matt Holliday, who was bothered by minor back/right side tightness on Saturday. Holliday participated in defensive work on Saturday morning, but he did not take any swings during batting practice for precautionary reasons.
Holliday said he expects to be cleared to play on Sunday.
Cardinals waiting for a diagnosis on Carp
JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals had no new information to share about Chris Carpenter's status on Saturday, one day after the veteran right-hander underwent another round of tests to determine what has been causing persistent neck stiffness. Those results were then sent on to a specialist in St. Louis for further evaluation.
While the Cardinals wait for a clear diagnosis, they remain mum on potential contingency plans. The club does, however, have several pitchers ready to consider if it is determined that Carpenter will be sidelined for any length of time. There is, of course, also the possibility that the stiffness will subside quickly and that Carpenter could be back on the mound next week.
"I can't keep [the media] from speculating, but we're trying to stay the course and let this all run its course," manager Mike Matheny said. "We'll make our adjustments when we need to. But right now, it's too preliminary."
If any of those contingency plans involved extending out a reliever so that he can be ready to start, that process will need to get under way immediately. Lance Lynn, Kyle McClellan and Marc Rzepczynski all have experience as starters, though none of the three were expected to be needed for such a role this year.
If the Cardinals don't want to shake up their bullpen, they could also opt to turn to one of their projected Triple-A starters to step in. That could open up an opportunity for someone like Brandon Dickson.
First, though, the Cardinals want to get a handle on just what is causing Carpenter neck discomfort. General manager John Mozeliak initially said that some sort of diagnosis should be made before the end of the weekend.
"We're not sitting here without a plan," Matheny said. "But there are 40 different plans, because you don't know what guy might have something come up. But to put those plans in motion now, we don't have enough information to do that. Whenever there is a bump in the road, I understand the excitement that it puts in everybody around here's eyes. But for us, it's just trying not to fall into that trap until we have all the information we need to move forward."
Carpenter is penciled in to be the team's Opening Day starter against the Marlins on April 4. He has not appeared in a game yet this spring.
Matheny not pleased with details behind delay
JUPITER, Fla. -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was none too pleased about the circumstances that led to his club waiting out a nearly two-hour rain delay during Saturday's game against the Marlins.
Matheny explained afterward that the Marlins decided to begin their Major League Baseball Players Association meeting shortly after umpire CB Bucknor ushered both teams off the field in the fifth inning because of rain. The meeting had initially been scheduled to take place after the game.
The meeting, which the Cardinals had early on Saturday morning, typically lasts approximately 90 minutes, thereby leaving the Cards and umpiring crew no choice but to sit around and wait. Bucknor came out to talk with Matheny a few times during the delay and explained to him that no one from the Marlins' side was available to discuss whether to postpone the game.
Matheny was later asked if a 1-hour, 49-minute delay should be atypical for Spring Training.
"I sure thought so, but apparently nobody else did," he said. "I wasn't real happy. We couldn't get people to make decisions. We weren't the home team there, and the home team was inside a meeting. So we were left to wait."
Not only did the Marlins' meeting not allow for a discussion about a possible postponement, but it also prevented the grounds crew from pulling up the tarp and getting the field ready earlier. During the delay, almost all Cardinals players and staff remained in the dugout.
"Spring Training, I'm not a big fan of keeping guys sitting out there like that," Matheny said. "I don't think [the Marlins] would have wanted to sit through that either. But they were inside."
The delay came during the top half of the fifth, just after the Cardinals had moved Adron Chambers to third with one out. Once play resumed, Matheny did not send several of his position players back out to the field. He did, however, use his scheduled relievers, including Jason Motte and Marc Rzepczynski.
"The field does drain well, and it did turn out to be beautiful there at the end," Matheny said. "But in the meanwhile, I wasn't happy. We have some pretty valuable players out there and we have some people in the bullpen just sitting still for a long time. None of that is a good situation."
In the end, the time of game in the Cardinals' 3-1 loss was only 30 minutes more than the midgame delay.
The Cardinals will have both Jaime Garcia (Monday) and Adam Wainwright (Tuesday) pitch on three days' rest this next time through the rotation. Both pitchers threw two efficient innings in their first Grapefruit League starts, leaving no concern about getting both back on the mound on short rest.
The Cardinals have split-squad games scheduled for Monday. Garcia will stay in Jupiter, Fla., to face the Braves. Shelby Miller will start the club's other game in Viera, Fla., against Washington. Miller, the organization's top prospect, made his previous spring start in Viera.
Yadier Molina hit in the second spot in the lineup on Saturday, and no, that was not due to a mistake by Mike Matheny. The Cardinals' manager put Molina high in the batting order so that he could get his desired number of at-bats in without having to play too many innings behind the plate. Because of the rain delay, Molina only came to the plate twice.
Matt Adams, who entered Saturday with seven RBIs in the Cardinals' five games, finished 1-for-4 with a double in his start against the Marlins. The only National League player with more RBIs through Friday's slate of games was Houston's J.D. Martinez.
Starter Kyle Lohse threw 45 pitches in his three-inning outing on Saturday. Twenty eight of those pitches were strikes. Lohse has now logged five spring innings and has allowed two runs -- both on solo homers.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.