Cardinals Catcher Matheny Out For Season

ByABC News
September 29, 2000, 6:59 PM

S T.   L O U I S, Sept. 29 -- Cardinals catcher Mike Matheny is out for theseason after slicing his right ring finger with a hunting knifetoday, hampering St. Louis playoff hopes.

Matheny cut himself with the knife, a birthday gift he had justopened, and was in surgery as shocked teammates learned the news ina team meeting about 3½ hours before a game against Cincinnati.

Matheny was putting the knife in its sheath and it went rightthrough, severing two flexor tendons and a nerve, Cardinalsspokesman Brian Bartow said. The team anticipates hell make a fullrecovery for next season.

I feel worse for him than I do for us, manager Tony La Russasaid.

The loss could be a serious blow to the National League Central champions.Matheny, a contender for a Gold Glove, threw out 51 percent(46-for-90) of would-be base stealers and hit .261 with 22 doubles,six homers and 47 RBIs.

To me, hes our MVP, closer Dave Veres said. We couldnthave won without him, and Im sure a lot of guys feel the sameway.

Backup Plan

The backups at the position are Carlos Hernandez, acquired justbefore the trade deadline, and Eli Marrero. Hernandez, who was onthe Padres 1998 World Series team, has been bothered by a badback, and Marrero has played sparingly after missing about twomonths because of a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Marrero played today and La Russa said Hernandez would start onSaturday. La Russa wouldnt reveal his post-season plans for theposition.

Marrero was hitting .230 in 51 games with five homers and 17RBIs and had thrown out seven of 13 base-stealers, but the Cardinalsconsider him weaker at calling pitches. Hernandez had thrown outsix of 21 base-stealers and was batting .258 with two homers and 32RBIs in 72 games.

The games are still going to be played and theyre still goingto count, La Russa said. So we need to understand what Mikemeant and get ready to play without him.