Under the watchful eye of manager Clint Hurdle, Gaby Sanchez took grounders at third base today during early infield work. Sanchez has never played third in five seasons in the majors, but he has played there in 148 games in the minors. “We wanted to revisit it and see what his capabilities are,” Hurdle said. “You get reports and you read ‘em, but you don’t want to just box guys in. You want to move ‘em around and put your eyes on them a little bit.”
»»» OF Starling Marte (strained oblique) has not yet started doing any baseball-related activities. There is no timetable for his return. With oblique injuries, it’s usually a matter of weeks, not days. “He’s out there moving around, playing catch, but he’s not swinging a bat yet,” Hurdle said.
»»» RHP Jeff Karstens, who tweaked his groin in his last outing Saturday, remains on track to start a game this weekend in Milwaukee. “There are no red flags,” Hurdle said. “We’ll know more when he throws a bullpen.”
»»» OF Alex Dickerson was named High-A Florida State League player of the year. In 124 games with Bradenton, Dickerson hit .299 (eighth-best in the league) with 12 homers, 88 RBI (second in the league) and 12 steals. He also ranks second in the league with 214 total bases.
»»» The Cardinals are coming off a series win against the Reds, and have three games against the Pirates before going to DC for a four-game set against the Nats. “This is a tough road trip, and I think everyone understands that,” Cards 3B David Freese said. “To get to the playoffs, you have to beat tough teams. This is a good test. This is a statement, either way, how this road trip turns out — for all the teams involved.”
Game 128: Cardinals @ Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET
Cardinals (70-57): 1. Jon Jay cf, 2. Matt Carpenter 3b, 3. Matt Holliday lf, 4. Allen Craig 1b, 5. Carlos Beltran rf, 6. Yadier Molina c, 7. Skip Schumaker 2b, 8. Rafael Furcal ss, 9. Kyle Lohse rhp (13-2, 2.61)
Pirates (68-59): 1. Jose Tabata lf, 2. Travis Snider rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Garrett Jones rf, 5. Neil Walker 2b, 6. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 7. Josh Harrison ss, 8. Rod Barajas c, 9. A.J. Burnett rhp (15-4, 3.63)