Eckstein leaves with hamstring strain

Eckstein leaves with hamstring strain

HOUSTON -- A painful year for David Eckstein took another turn for the worse on Sunday night.

Eckstein was removed from the Cardinals' game against the Astros at Minute Maid Park with what the team called a mild to moderate strain of his left hamstring. Eckstein was making only his third start since missing five weeks due to a strained left oblique muscle.

He is unlikely to play in the Cardinals' upcoming series against San Diego.

"We'll check it [Monday] to see how he feels, but I don't expect he'll be ready for a few days," said head athletic trainer Barry Weinberg.

Eckstein lined out to left field to end the top of the fifth inning. As he was running out the ball, he felt pain in his leg. He took the field for the bottom of the inning, but shortly after the shortstop went to his position, Weinberg came out to tend to him. Weinberg and Eckstein then walked into the dugout, and Eckstein was removed from the game.

"I was running it out and I was making my turn, and it just grabbed," Eckstein said.

Jose Vizcaino took Eckstein's place at shortstop and in the leadoff spot. In three games back in the lineup, Eckstein was 6-for-13 with a home run and three doubles. For the year, he's batting .293 with a .351 on-base percentage and a .344 slugging percentage.

"I'm concerned," manager Tony La Russa said. "It was probably a mistake to play him three in a row. ... You pace him -- play him, sit him. Play him two, sit him one. And I played him three."

The hamstring strain is at least the third physical problem for Eckstein this year. In June, he missed three games after sustaining a concussion.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.