August 31: Cardinals (71-60) @ Nationals (79-51)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Pete Kozma is up, and Rafael Furcal is down. An exam on Furcal’s right elbow did reveal ligament damage on Friday. Furcal is waiting to be seen by Cardinals team physician Dr. George Paletta before the club announces the extent of the damage. Still, there seems little reason to believe Furcal will play again in 2012. He was placed on the DL on Friday.

Time at short will be split between Kozma and Daniel Descalso for now. The club opted not to bring Ryan Jackson back up right away since he didn’t get regular at-bats during his recent stint with the Major League team. Memphis has four more games remaining, and Jackson likely will play in all of them to get back into a rhythm and routine.

Matt Carpenter (twisted right ankle) was still limping on Friday, so his availability could be limited. He did hit, though, so he can at least be of use in that role.

And… right-hander Chris Carpenter returned to the mound again — and this time faced hitters. That’s a very aggressive and unusual step forward after one bullpen session. It’s pretty clear now that Carpenter is going to push himself so that he can return this year, unless his arm doesn’t properly respond.

More on all these notes/updates on cardinals.com later.

CARDINALS LINEUP:

  1. Jon Jay (CF)
  2. Carlos Beltran (RF)
  3. Matt Holliday (LF)
  4. Allen Craig (1B)
  5. Yadier Molina (C)
  6. David Freese (3B)
  7. Skip Schumaker (2B)
  8. Pete Kozma (SS)
  9. Adam Wainwright (RHP)

NATIONALS LINEUP:

  1. Jayson Werth (RF)
  2. Bryce Harper (CF)
  3. Ryan Zimmerman (3B)
  4. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  5. Michael Morse (LF)
  6. Ian Desmond (SS)
  7. Danny Espinosa (2B)
  8. Kurt Suzuki (C)
  9. Gio Gonzalez (LHP)

Division standings are here. Wild card standings are here.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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