J. Martinez trying to get back on field

J. Martinez trying to get back on field

ST. LOUIS -- Jose Martinez, who has been nursing a sprained left thumb for the last week, said he will try to grip a bat and take some swings on Tuesday in order to get a better idea of whether a return to the field this week is realistic.

Martinez had to stop playing through the discomfort midway through Friday's game and returned to St. Louis over the weekend. Though scans of his thumb showed no significant damage, he received a cortisone shot on Sunday and has been wearing a protective brace on his hand since.

"This is the time that I've been getting more opportunities to play and help the team," Martinez said. "I'd love to be out there and making something happen, especially since we need those wins."

The timing couldn't be worse for Martinez, who had cemented a spot in the starting lineup and hit safely in 18 of 21 games before being shut down. Until Martinez is cleared to return, Matt Carpenter is expected to continue to draw starts at first base.

Medical report

Though both are ailing, right-hander Adam Wainwright and Carpenter have been cleared by the Cardinals' medical staff to play out the remainder of the regular season.

Wainwright has made one relief appearance since returning from a right elbow impingement injury. Carpenter has played most of the season with persistent irritation in his right shoulder.

President of baseball operations John Mozeliak said that Wainwright will be re-evaluated after the season to determine if surgery is needed to address lingering elbow discomfort. Carpenter's shoulder is expected to heal with an offseason of rest.

Rivalry of words

After the Cubs shaved their magic number for a division title to two on Sunday, utility man Ben Zobrist shared his feelings about a potential clinch scenario during the team's four-game series at Busch Stadium this week.

"It will be nice to do it there, I'll just say that," Zobrist said. "We intend to clinch there, and I think for a lot of the guys who have been around here for a long time, it'll be very satisfying."

Those comments didn't go unnoticed by those in the Cardinals' clubhouse, and the ever-outspoken Tommy Pham offered his retort on Monday.

"He better not ask me how I'm doing on the field," Pham said. "I don't want to be his friend. He's going to come here and pop bottles or all that stuff, don't say hi to me on the field then."

The Cardinals will be eliminated from the NL Central race with one loss in this series.

Cardinals increase stadium security

With groups still protesting the Sept. 15 acquittal of former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley, the Cardinals set up metal barricades along the sidewalks surrounding Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village in advance of this homestand.

"Obviously, you want to keep your fans safe," Mozeliak said. "You want this to be an environment where people feel safe. I know our security is working with the city to help make sure that the people down here feel comfortable coming to the game. Clearly right now, the city of St. Louis is dealing with an issue that continues to be brought up. Our hope is that even if there are protests, they are peaceful."

The Cardinals previously canceled their Cardinals Care 6K due to insufficient police staffing for the event. They did, however, hold a Billy Joel concert at Busch Stadium, as scheduled, last week.

Worth noting

• Stubby Clapp, who managed Triple-A Memphis to a Pacific Coast League Championship, will spend the week with the Cardinals as an extra coach. On Thursday, coaches and staff from Memphis and Class A Advanced Palm Beach will be recognized for their championship seasons during a pregame ceremony.

• The Cardinals will wait until later this week to settle on a starter for Friday. John Gant, who made a spot start on Sunday, will be among those in consideration.

• Instead of holding a traditional instructional league camp this month, the Cardinals will have a series of mini-camps during the offseason and a larger instructional league gathering in January. Mozeliak said the decision to change the schedule was prompted by the number of Minor League players who wanted to attend college during the fall semester, and to help fight fatigue.

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. 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.