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St. Louis Cardinals' Injuries: Still Not a Problem for Success

Josh KipnisCorrespondent IIMay 28, 2012

St. Louis Cardinals' Injuries: Still Not a Problem for Success

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    St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina was red-hot in Sunday’s 8-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Molina hit a grand slam off of Roy Halladay in the first inning, but in the fifth, the heat seemed to catch up with him. Molina left the game before his third at-bat with symptoms of dehydration.

    As he stepped into the batter’s box, he “was seeing the pitcher, like three pitchers,” Molina said after the game. And while it seems this will only be a short-term concern for rookie manager Mike Matheny, the scare of another impact player joining the ever-popular 15-day DL is terrifying the Cardinal Nation.

    Here’s a list of the current crippled Cardinals and the impact of each injury on the team’s success.

Who's on First???

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    Albert Pujols’ slow start with the Angels has helped ease the pain of his departure from St. Louis. However, the Cardinals have now lost three first basemen to injury this season, making it seem as though Pujols’ shoes at first base will never be filled.  It’s like the ESPN commercial is coming to life—“The Machine” is terminating all those who follow.

    36-year-old Lance Berkman began the year much like his dominant hitting campaign last season, once again posting a batting average above .300. But on May 25, “the Puma” underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

    Allen Craig would’ve been Berkman’s replacement, but he was recovering from a surgery of his own, giving young gun Matt Carpenter his first real taste of the big leagues. So what happens? Carpenter strains his right oblique.

    Craig finally recovers, but just one month later he strains his hamstring. Believe in ghosts?  Something doesn’t seem right…

    Pujols is arguably the most consistent hitter ever to play the game. In each of his first 10 seasons in the MLB, he hit over .300, over 30 HR and over 100 RBI. But no matter how hard he tries, Manager Mike Matheny can’t seem to find a new everyday first baseman.

    Rookie Matt Adams was recently called up from (AAA) Memphis. Matheny may have struck gold with this kid. The powerful lefty slugger was the Minor League Player of the Year in 2011 and hit his first career HR in yesterday’s game versus the Phillies. So far, Adams is 10 for 29, posting a .345 average with a HR, four 2Bs and two RBI.

    Might want to keep the medics on hold, though.

'Out'-Field

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    John Jay was one of the hottest bats in the Cards’ lineup. Hitting a phenomenal .343, Jay was batting over .400 towards the end of April, until he was removed from the lineup with a right shoulder strain.

    The only regular outfielder for St. Louis this year has been left fielder Matt Holliday.

    In his first year in St. Louis, Carlos Beltran has already seen a few days rest for safe measure. The 15-year veteran has had a history of knee trouble.  “For me, it has always been a health issue,” Beltran explained to ESPN's Tim Kurkjian. “When you are healthy, you can do the things that you are used to doing. When I am healthy, I feel very comfortable when I am at the plate.”

    Beltran must have adopted the “apple a day” diet.  He is putting up some of the best numbers of his career, including a National League best 15 homers and 45 RBI.

Still Sluggin'

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    The Cardinals rank second in the MLB in runs, batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage. Pretty incredible when you consider how often they have to shuffle in and out of lineups. Most teams would have hit the panic button by now, yet St. Louis remains calm and collected, instilling confidence in whoever is sent into the batter’s box. The temporary fixes are currently holding steady. Although the Red Birds did recently drop out of first in the NL Central for the first time all season, with depth like this, it should only be a matter of time till they regain that lead.

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