PHILADELPHIA -- It's no secret that Rafael Furcal has been battling through injuries for the better part of his 2012 campaign. After he hit .319 over the first 54 games of the season with a .816 OPS, the veteran shortstop has fallen off at the plate and entered Saturday's game hitting .265 on the year.
That said, the Cardinals lean on Furcal heavily for his leadership and defense, neither of which has waned despite his offensive struggles.
"He's done such a nice job playing a solid, solid shortstop, and we'll take what we can offensively," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "You look at this lineup, if you are looking at shortstop for all of the offensive production, you're looking in the wrong spot. If he keeps doing what he's been doing and as bad as his back has felt, he hasn't shown it in his range or consistency in the field, and that's where we really need him the most."
Jackson makes debut with Cardinals at second
PHILADELPHIA -- On Friday afternoon, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was asked what freshly called up Ryan Jackson would provide his team. Matheny made it clear that this wasn't a "courtesy" and that the young infielder would be called on to contribute almost immediately.
On Saturday, true to his word, Matheny inserted Jackson -- ranked No. 17 among the organization's prospects by MLB.com -- into the lineup against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Jackson was slotted at second base and hit eighth against Phillies left-handed starter Cliff Lee for a Cardinals team that had just four hits in each of its previous three games.
"He's been doing a nice job against lefties this year," Matheny said. "Give [Daniel Descalso] a day, because we've been riding him pretty hard. Give him a chance to see what he can do. We've been talking to him through yesterday and today about enjoying it and not making more of it than it is. It's still the same game."
With Triple-A Memphis this season, Jackson hit .310 (44-for-142) with five home runs and 15 RBIs. Add in the fact that Jake Westbrook is a ground-ball pitcher and the young infielder -- who has played the majority of the season at short -- will be thrown into the fire.
"He's going to get some action on the left side of the infield," Matheny said. "There has never been much question defensively what he can do. It also gives him a better chance hitting against a lefty, which he has better numbers against throughout his career."
Cards' rotation will remain in turn after off-day
PHILADELPHIA -- After some thought, despite a five-game stretch in which Adam Wainwright has gone 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA in 36 1/3 innings pitched, the Cardinals have decided to stick with their normal rotation and exploit a day off on Monday.
"We're going to stay with the rotation the way it is," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Obviously, any time you are in the dog days and you can get your guys some rest, it makes sense. There are a couple of guys in our rotation we've been concerned about stacking too much on them, so the day off helps."
There is also the impending return of Jaime Garcia, who will make one more rehab start before his scheduled return on Aug. 19 against Pittsburgh. Garcia looked good in his latest rehab start despite allowing five runs in six innings. In that effort, he threw just 75 pitches and he certainly could have been aided by a break or two that went his way.
"If we were to bump everybody up, we'd be using [Garcia] on short rest in his first start," Matheny said. "So that doesn't work out to well. This keeps him on his regular day as well."
Mike Radano is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.