July 9: Astros (32-57) @ Cardinals (53-34)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The first-place Cardinals welcome former NL Central division foe Astros back to town for a quick two-game set to round out this homestand. The Astros arrive having lost eight of their last 10 since splitting a two-game series against the Cardinals at home in June. St. Louis sends Adam Wainwright to the mound for the first of his two starts before the All-Star break.

The Cardinals did shuffle their roster on Tuesday, releasing veteran Ty Wigginton and adding catcher Rob Johnson to the 40- and 25-man rosters. Wigginton’s half-year stay in St. Louis was a disappointing one. Signed to a two-year, $5-million contract over the winter, Wigginton struggled as a pinch-hitter — which was essentially his only role. While the Cardinals found his leadership and experience a valuable asset in the clubhouse, it wasn’t enough to warrant him continuing to assume a roster spot.

Manager Mike Matheny said that the organization offered Wigginton the opportunity to join Triple-A Memphis and see if he could find his swing there, but Wigginton declined. That makes him a free agent. The Cardinals are still responsible for paying the rest of the salary due in this two-year contract.

The Cardinals’ decision to bring Johnson up to fill the roster spot is, in part, related to Yadier Molina’s recent knee issue. Though Molina is back in the lineup today, the Cardinals are prepared to be cautious with his workload, and having the extra catcher gives the club that flexibility. It also will allow for Matheny to use Tony Cruz more liberally as a pinch-hitter if he has Johnson still left on the bench as a backstop.

CARDINALS LINEUP:

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

ASTROS LINEUP:

  1. Jose Altuve (2B)
  2. Brett Wallace (3B)
  3. Jason Castro (C)
  4. J.D. Martinez (RF)
  5. Carlos Pena (1B)
  6. Marc Krauss (LF)
  7. Brandon Barnes (CF)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Bud Norris (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

2 Comments

That’s a good move. It was sad to see Wigginton have so many unsuccessful at bats!

Interesting that seven of the 9 Cards are past or present All-Stars. That’s a stacked deck for sure! Go Cards!!!

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