Carpenter posts two hits, RBI in return to lineup

Third baseman had missed four games due to fatigue

Carpenter posts two hits, RBI in return to lineup

CLEVELAND -- Third baseman Matt Carpenter returned to the lineup in the Cardinals' 8-3 win over the Indians after missing the club's previous four games with what the team called "extreme fatigue."

Carpenter returned to his familiar spot in the order -- second -- and started at third base. He went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.

"First time stepping in the box for a couple days always feels a little foreign, but it usually comes back to you pretty quick," Carpenter said after the game.

Carpenter began feeling the effects of the fatigue during last week's home series against the Cubs.

"I know it doesn't sound like anything, but it was," Carpenter said. "I wasn't right. My body wasn't working on all cylinders. It lingered throughout the whole Cubs series. I just did not feel good. The medical staff decided and thought it was a good idea to take this time off. At the time I didn't agree with it, but now I think it was much needed."

Few players have undergone a workload quite like the one Carpenter's endured the past couple of seasons. Since the start of 2013, Carpenter had played in 342 regular-season games entering play Tuesday -- 14th most in that span. Because he hits at the top of the order, he had come to the plate 1,550 times, a figure topped only by Mike Trout. Carpenter had also logged nearly 3,000 innings in the field, another figure that falls in the Top 10 of all players since 2013.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny understands that giving players extended time off due to fatigue isn't something one sees every day in the Majors, but also knows the extent of Carpenter's workload.

"I think it's something we're always going to be aware of," Matheny said. "It's something we're going to make ourselves watch even closer. ... Maybe it's not commonplace thinking, but we're not afraid to do things a little differently and know that it's for our guys."

Worth noting
Jon Jay was held out of Tuesday's lineup as he continued to deal with a bruised left thumb. He was removed from Saturday's game and missed Sunday's game, too. A day off on Monday wasn't enough time for Jay to be ready to start, but Matheny did say he was available Tuesday night to be a pinch-hitter.

• Carpenter was back in his familiar location of batting second, but there was a new face in front of him. Second baseman Kolten Wong earned his third career start in the leadoff spot -- and first of this season -- on Tuesday. He went 0-for-5.

August Fagerstrom is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.