Punto could be headed back to DL

Punto could be headed back to DL

CINCINNATI -- Nick Punto was not scheduled to travel with the Cardinals to New York following a 3-1 loss on Sunday, as the team sought another medical opinion on the utility infielder.

Citing an anonymous source, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported Sunday morning that Punto would return to the disabled list following Saturday night's game, when he sailed a throw over Albert Pujols' head in the eighth inning. Punto, who suffered ligament damage when he strained his right forearm in late May, said he had not been informed of any decision prior to Sunday's game, and the team had yet to make an announcement.

Punto appeared as a pinch-hitter on Sunday, singling in the eighth inning. He did not remain in the game to play the field.

"He's been seeing a doctor," manager Tony La Russa said before the game, "but I think [he needs] more of an exam, so we can get the most current information, make a decision."

Punto returned from the DL on June 27, but in his first 11 games back he had only played second base. Before Saturday's game, Punto told La Russa that he could play on the left side of the infield, if needed.

La Russa brought him in as a defensive replacement for third baseman David Freese, and his only throw resulted in a two-base error. Signed in the offseason for his defense, Punto has given the Cardinals' offense a boost, hitting .275 in 91 at-bats.

"It's just the breaks that happen, but I feel bad for him," La Russa said. "Of course, he's got a career ahead of him, but we've got to keep going."