"It's evolving," Matheny said. "There have been many times where I say, 'This is a day that I see,' and we are a week out. And they say, 'You know what, I'd really like to play that day, how about this?' I like keeping them involved, though there are days where you're just not playing today and it's not much of a discussion. But the other times when we're trying to find a day to give them more of a mental break than a physical break, [we encourage them to] tell us where that fits best. They seem to respond pretty well to it."
Matheny has been especially deliberate in finding days off for his everyday veterans, including Holliday, Jhonny Peralta and Molina. Matt Carpenter's recent episode of extreme fatigue has made him more of a focal point in this initiative, too. The Cardinals have been particularly watchful of over-usage during this ongoing stretch of 36 games in 37 days.
Factoring in potential designated-hitter opportunities also plays into the scheduling. The Cardinals made a trip to Cleveland on their last road trip and have an upcoming series in Kansas City this weekend.
"When we get to that point and we're heading into an American League city, I'll say, 'I'm thinking about a day here. Would you like a day [off], or how about DH because we could probably use you in the lineup?'" Matheny explained. "There are other days where I'll just say, 'We have enough guys out of the lineup that I need you as a DH there with this matchup.' We just take all the information, present it to them, tell them what we're thinking."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.