HBP on right elbow forces Carpenter's exit

HBP on right elbow forces Carpenter's exit

LOS ANGELES -- Three innings after taking a Clayton Kershaw fastball just above his right elbow, Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter exited Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Dodgers midway through the fourth. The club later announced that Carpenter had been diagnosed with a right triceps contusion and described his status as day to day.

Carpenter was briefly checked by the team's assistant athletic trainer after being hit by the eighth pitch of the plate appearance, but initially remained in the game. He played three innings in the field and struck out in a fourth-inning at-bat before he had to be pulled.

"Just as the game went on, it started swelling and I couldn't throw or swing effectively," Carpenter said after the Cardinals' 2-0 loss.

The area above Carpenter's right elbow was still wrapped after the game, though Carpenter downplayed the severity of the injury. He noted that if his arm is too sore for him to play on Sunday, he would expect to be back on the field for Monday's series opener against Colorado.

"Thankfully it hit me in a good spot, in terms of not on the bone," Carpenter said. "But it caught me flush right above the bone, where the triceps meets the elbow. If it would have hit me the same way in the bone, it wouldn't have been good. But it hit me in a good spot."

Pete Kozma, who started the game at second, moved to third upon Carpenter's departure. Kolten Wong entered the game to play second base and fill the second spot in the Cardinals' lineup.

Prior to Saturday's early exit, Carpenter had started and finished 23 of the team's 24 games since returning from a four-day hiatus forced upon him by the Cardinals after he came down with an episode of extreme fatigue. The Cardinals have remained watchful of his work habits and pleased with how Carpenter has, in certain areas, pulled back when necessary.

"I think he has tempered down all the pregame work, some of the stuff in the weight room, some of the swings" manager Mike Matheny said. "We're encouraging him to show up a little later at times. Those early arrival times are great for young players, and it's really hard to know when you've stopped becoming one of those young players.

"It was great affirmation to him to have all of us telling him that he could back off and still be just as good. 'Stay focused, but I don't think you need to pile on as much work as you're used to."'

Worth noting

• Rumor has it that the four skunks that hid under the camera well in the visitor's dugout on Friday had not all confiscated the space despite attempts from animal control following Friday's game. While attempts to remove the skunks on Friday provided some unexpected pregame entertainment, their sharing the dugout space with the Cardinals has been a non-issue.

"I told everybody at the beginning [of Friday's game] not to be fooling around over there," Matheny said. "After that, it was like it was never there."

• Infielder Dean Anna hit a solo homer in Triple-A Memphis' 1-0 win on Friday as the Redbirds extended their winning streak to seven games. Lefty John Gast earned the win after allowing four hits over seven shutout innings in the rain-shortened game.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.