ST. LOUIS -- Matt Carpenter was replaced by a pinch-hitter for precautionary reasons in the ninth Saturday against the Pirates, two innings after he felt some left-side tightness while swinging at the second pitch he saw from reliever Tony Watson.
In speaking after the Cardinals' 5-3 loss, Carpenter minimized the severity of the injury. But manager Mike Matheny had no interest in risking it becoming any worse by having Carpenter hit that final time. Last season, Carpenter missed 27 games with a right oblique strain.
"Obviously, I've had some history and got hurt with it last year," said Carpenter, the team's leadoff hitter for the third straight game. "I think that was the main thing. They knew that I've had that injury before and they wanted to make sure it wasn't too serious. It was more a precautionary move more than anything else. I went into the training room, checked it out and I think we're going to be fine."
Carpenter swung at three other pitches in that seventh-inning at-bat before popping out. He played two more innings on defense as well. His side remained tight throughout, he said.
Matheny sent Carpenter into the on-deck circle in the ninth before pulling him just before his name was announced.
"He was determined to go back out there, but a [cold, rainy] day like today is usually a recipe for things getting real bad," Matheny said. "We had to get him out."
Jermaine Curtis, who was called up from Triple-A on Friday, hit in Carpenter's place. He struck out to end an eight-pitch at-bat.
The Cardinals have already lost Matt Adams to an oblique injury this week. Adams was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday, after straining his right oblique while taking a batting practice swing.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.