ST. LOUIS -- A 17-year-old male could face criminal charges after allegedly pointing a green laser onto the field at Busch Stadium during Monday's game between the Cardinals and the Giants.
The incident happened in the seventh inning, when several people -- including manager Mike Matheny, home-plate umpire Marvin Hudson and Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday, who was up to bat -- noticed a green laser pointed on the back of Giants reliever Shane Loux. Holliday immediately stepped out of the batter's box, though the at-bat continued seconds later.
Matheny said that once the inning ended, he saw the green laser "glance across the ground." He looked over toward the seats on the first-base side and identified a male with a laser pointer. The 17-year-old was seated alongside others in a field-level suite, said Joe Walsh, director of security and special services.
"I said, 'I caught you' and he kind of froze up," Matheny said Tuesday.
Walsh said that security officers had already congregated in the vicinity of where the male was sitting after being alerted to the initial laser incident during Holliday's at-bat. After Matheny relayed a specific location, the Busch Stadium resident security agent, who is hired by Major League Baseball, walked toward the suite and saw three males on their way out.
The security agent, Walsh said, began to follow them, during which time he saw one throw something into a trash can. Once the security agent saw a uniformed police officer approaching, the three were stopped and brought into a holding room at Busch Stadium.
Walsh said that the green laser pointer was later found in the trash can. It is now in police custody as evidence.
"This kid, obviously, he thought it was funny," Walsh said. "There's nothing funny about it."
Walsh said the teenager who allegedly pointed the laser also tried to cover his tracks by seating two people where he was in the suite before he made his exit. That, Walsh said, appeared to be a calculated attempt to throw security officers off.
After the game ended, Matheny went to the holding room and identified whom he had spotted with the laser pointer. The 17-year-old was then arrested on a charge of disturbing an athletic event and booked into jail, Walsh said. The male has since been released. The other two individuals were released to adults Monday night.
A female adult was in the suite during the alleged incident, but Walsh described her as "not cooperative at all and rather boorish in her behavior" with security.
Because the 17-year-old violated a city ordinance, it is now up to the city counselor's office to issue a warrant, Walsh said. If a warrant is issued, the teenager would be required to go to court. Walsh said he hopes that charges are pursued.
"This is an issue that we take seriously," Walsh said. "If you look throughout the [professional sports] leagues, there's a certain paranoia about it when you start seeing this kind of thing. From a baseball standpoint, it's certainly dangerous for players. If you have a guy up to bat and all of a sudden there's a laser -- whether it's on the pitcher or whether somebody is flashing it -- you're going to be distracted."
Cardinals put Schumaker at second vs. Zito
ST. LOUIS -- For the first time since July 25, the Cardinals' oft-rotating middle-infield alignment did not include Daniel Descalso at either second or short.
The Skip Schumaker-Barry Zito matchup was too enticing for manager Mike Matheny to ignore, which is why he opted to start Schumaker at second against the Giants lefty. Schumaker entered Tuesday 7-for-12 with three doubles and four RBIs against Zito in his career.
It's hard to argue, too, that Schumaker doesn't belong in the lineup regardless of the matchup. He finished July with the league's third-best on-base percentage and is batting .385 with runners in scoring position this season.
"We have to keep Skip sharp," Matheny said. "He can be a real spark to this offense, and he's done a nice job for us defensively, too. All in all, we have to come up with ways to keep everybody going."
For Rafael Furcal, who drew a second straight start at short Tuesday, the priority is the same. Keeping him going, though, means finding a way to help Furcal manage back stiffness, which has, to varying degrees, bothered him for nearly two weeks.
"He's kind of just in a spot where it's the same," Matheny said. "Doctors are continuing to look at him to see what other options to kind of get him over the hump. He's moving well defensively, but he can certainly feel it in his swings. It doesn't seem to be getting worse either. They're just trying to figure it out."
Those options, Matheny clarified, could range from therapy to cortisone injections. The latter would provide short-term relief but would not necessarily address the root of the issue. Back tightness forced Furcal to miss five games from July 28-Aug. 2. Furcal has started four of the five games the Cardinals have played since then.
Carpenter coming through in a pinch
ST. LOUIS -- With his key two-run, pinch-hit single in Monday night's 8-2 Cardinals victory, Matt Carpenter became the first St. Louis rookie to accrue eight pinch-hit RBIs in a year since 1987.
It was John Morris who had eight in that '87 season, though he also needed 10 hits and 33 at-bats to reach that total. Carpenter has driven in eight in 19 at-bats. He has five hits in the pinch-hit role so far.
"It's not an easy thing to do, but as far as being comfortable with it and accepting it and giving it your best effort and being focused ... that's definitely something that I've gotten better at," Carpenter said. "As the season goes on, you get more and more experience and you get put in those situations more often. You're more prepared for that."
Carpenter has a ways to go to match the team record for pinch-hit RBIs by a Cardinals rookie. Joe Frazier holds that mark with 15 in 1954.
However, Carpenter is expected to get plenty more chances to drive in runs as a pinch-hitter through the season's final two months.
Carpenter started 24 of the team's first 43 games, a period that overlapped the Cardinals' most trying time with injury issues. But since coming off the disabled list himself on June 22, Carpenter has made only 15 starts. That's because the team's core of position players is almost entirely healthy again.
"It's funny, the days that I do play, I come home and have full energy," Carpenter said. "But the days that I pinch-hit or [do] not even get in at all are days that I'm the most mentally drained. It's tough. You're up and down, trying to put yourself in the situation. ... You can get overwhelmed with it if you don't learn to slow it down."
The Cardinals entered Tuesday's game with a 5-1 record in August, which has been the team's most successful month since the turn of the century. St. Louis' .589 August winning percentage since 2000 is the best in the National League. Last year, the club won 15 games during the month.
Oscar Taveras, the organization's top outfield prospect, collected his 20th home run and 30th double of the season in a 3-for-5 night for Double-A Springfield on Monday. Taveras, 20, is currently leading the Texas League with a .323 batting average. His 73 RBIs rank third in the league.
Triple-A starter Brandon Dickson made his third straight start of at least seven innings, as he pitched exactly that many for Memphis on Monday. Dickson, who did not factor into the decision, allowed one run on five hits and two walks. He struck out six. Dickson, who had a short stint with the Cardinals earlier in the season, is now 5-9 with a 3.56 ERA in 20 Triple-A starts.
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.