JUPITER, Fla. -- Skip Schumaker left Friday's game early after suffering a right oblique injury during his fourth-inning at-bat. Schumaker had little to say about the injury postgame, but did characterize it as worse than the strain he endured last fall.
That injury, which Schumaker sustained during Game 5 of the National League Division Series, kept Schumaker off the NL Championship Series roster. He did return to play in the World Series.
While the Cardinals don't yet know the severity of the injury, manager Mike Matheny used the word "concern" when asked about Schumaker. He was also disappointed in himself for not stepping in to perhaps prevent the injury. One pitch before Schumaker felt his side really tighten, Matheny caught Schumaker's attention. The first-year Cardinals manager thought he saw something wrong.
"I asked if he was all right, and he told me that he was," Matheny said. "My gut told me that he wasn't, and [I] let him [keep hitting]. That made it worse. Neither of us did the right thing."
Schumaker, who was the designated hitter in the game, ended up grounding out. He was pinch-hit for in his next at-bat.
"I'm still learning all their idiosyncrasies up close," Matheny said. "I've watched them all, obviously, for a while. But there are guys that [wince] every time they take a swing. But that one, I saw it, and I didn't follow through."
Oblique injuries often have the tendency to linger, making it tough to establish a timeline as to how long Schumaker might be sidelined. Cardinals pitcher Lance Lynn missed nearly two months with an oblique strain last season. Matheny noted that he was out a month when he suffered one during his playing career.
Schumaker was in the middle of a three-way competition for the starting second-base job. He had also been getting regular work in the outfield in case he ended up in a utility bench role.