SAN FRANCISCO -- As a player, Mike Matheny used to argue with his managers against off-days. Now he has to defend them.
The St. Louis skipper is taking a long-term approach to his lineups in 2013, planning to rest some of his big bats early in the season to keep them fresh into September. For Sunday's series finale against the Giants, slugger Matt Holliday was a healthy scratch from the lineup.
"I've been very clear with the guys and none of them like the message," Matheny said. "The message is: Your turn is going to come around. It's just going to be everyone taking their turn and realizing that this is for the good of the team."
With Sunday serving as a getaway day for the team before it heads back for Monday's home opener, Matheny said he wanted to "unleash" Holliday for the first game at Busch Stadium. Along with Holliday, Matheny also gave second baseman David Descalso his first break of the 2013 season.
With the two regulars resting, Matt Carpenter moved from third to second base for Descalso, while Ty Wigginton started at third, Matt Adams started at first and Allen Craig filled in for Holliday in left field. Not only does Matheny want to keep his regulars fresh, but he indicated he'd like to keep reserve bats like Wigginton sharp off the bench. Wigginton has also had previous success against Giants starter Matt Cain, going 4-for-12 (.333) with a home run and five RBIs against the San Francisco ace in his career before adding an RBI single in the Cardinals' nine-run fourth inning Sunday.
"Right now we're just trying to get him a few more consistent at-bats," Matheny said of Wigginton. "So when we bring him in a pinch-hit situation, he'll have an opportunity to feel good about where he's at."
Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.