ST. LOUIS -- When he takes the field on Saturday night for the 935th start of his nine-year career, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina will be hitting third in the lineup for the first time.
Cardinals rookie manager Mike Matheny went with a different lineup for Saturday night's game against the Indians at Busch Stadium. Molina was hitting third, behind centerfielder Carlos Beltran.
"I'd say he's our best hitter right now," Matheny said of Molina. "Just kind of watching how he's gone about every at bat, whether it's men on base or getting an inning started, he's going about it well right now. I wanted to put that lineup out there with kind of a full offense with Carlos in center. I've been thinking about it for a while now. I like the way it lays out."
Molina has never been in the starting lineup as a leadoff hitter and has only once (in 2008) been in the No. 2 spot. He has made 359 starts batting seventh and 311 starts batting sixth, with 14 starts as the clean-up hitter and 48 as the fifth-place hitter.
The 29-year-old catcher batted .305 with 32 doubles, 14 home runs and 65 RBIs a year ago and went into Saturday's game hitting .337 with 14 doubles, eight home runs and 32 RBIs in 53 games.
"He's done a nice job in the six hole and the six hole's been pretty important, but typical thinking in baseball is to try get your better hitters in as many times as you can and a lot of times that's trying to get them up in the order," Matheny said. "I like the idea. We'll just see how it plays out. There's nothing written in stone here with this. I think it's an acknowledgement to him of what he's done so far. I know he's just as fine if we threw him in the eight hole. He just wants to do what he can to win. I think this is something worth looking at."
Holliday out vs. Indians with back spasms
ST. LOUIS -- Matt Holliday was scratched from the starting lineup a few minutes before opening pitch on Saturday night with what the team announced were "mid-back spasms."
"He came to me about two minutes before we exchanged lineup cards, so there was some mad-rushing going on to get everybody in place," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I think he did a smart thing and pulled up. He could have probably pushed through it. It was almost a low lat-back issue where it just tightened up while he was getting his swings in right before the game. I think he was smart by kind of putting on the brakes there.
"They went through treatment all game long. We'll take a look at him tomorrow. There's a good chance, good chance he won't be in there. That way he'd have the off-day too to make sure we're doing everything we can to stay away from this becoming something major. Right now it doesn't look like it's going to be that bad."
The Cardinals' left fielder had appeared in 58 of the team's 59 games this season.
Holliday, who was scheduled to hit clean-up for the first time this season before being scratched, is hitting .276 with nine doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, 35 RBIs, 38 runs scored, a .362 on-base percentage and a .458 slugging percentage.
The 32-year-old outfielder, who is in his fourth season with St. Louis, is a career .313 hitter and a five-time All-Star.
Garcia to miss four weeks with shoulder injury
ST. LOUIS -- Jaime Garcia didn't know what was wrong. But he knew something was wrong.
"I wasn't able to be consistent on the mound," he said on Saturday afternoon. "I couldn't find any consistency with my mechanics and my arm slot. I don't think it's in my head, because I've always worked really hard. ... I knew my head was in the right spot. I was battling through something but I was going out there and trying to give the team a chance to win. That's when I decided to get it checked out. Maybe there's something wrong and there was something wrong."
Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said on Friday that Garcia would be shut down for four weeks to rest and go through shoulder therapy.
The 25-year-old lefty is 3-4 with a 4.48 earned-run average in 11 starts this season. He went 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA in 28 starts in 2010 and was 13-7 with a 3.56 ERA in 32 starts a year ago.
"This season has been tough because it hasn't been hurting," he said. "If it would have been hurting I would have said something about my shoulder. It's been a weird feeling in there. If I had to say something, it's like weak and tight in there. I've tried strengthening my shoulder with exercises and lifting and all that stuff and it seems like nothing was helping, because the problem was inside the shoulder, not so much on the outside."
Garcia met with the Cardinals medical staff, including Dr. George Paletta, and then traveled to California to visit with Dr. Lewis Yocum. The two doctors concluded that whatever was wrong could be helped by rest and rehab.
"They did an MRI last year and they saw my shoulder was fine and then this year it's different," he said. "There is a tear in the rotator cuff or something like that, but they both believe that rehabbing should make things back to normal, back to the way they work. Basically there's some tightness in my shoulder and that's what's causing my shoulder not to work they way it should. They both believe that by doing the little things that I used to do when I rehabbed my elbow -- stretching and strengthening the small muscles in the shoulder -- is going to help me a lot, get my velocity back and my strength back."
Garcia has had mixed results this season. He allowed one earned run on nine hits and struck out nine batters over 7 1/3 innings in a win at San Francisco on May 16 and then followed that up with two earned runs on seven hits over seven innings in his next start against the Padres.
But then he allowed four runs on six hits over six innings in a loss to Philadelphia on May 26 and allowed six earned runs on five hits in two innings in Houston the next time out.
"I saw two starts not too long ago that were really impressive," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "The one in San Francisco I thought was a great start. He had a rhythm about himself and a disposition on the mound that looked as good as you could ever want. If he could keep doing that I would have been fine. When you know something's off, you're off. That can lead to bigger and worse things. We need him to figure it out."
Garcia said that he would also visit Dr. James Andrews on Monday, though he later amended that statement to say he wasn't sure he would and was more like 50/50 on whether or not he would make that visit.
Cards claim Gaub off waivers from Texas
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals have claimed left-hander relief pitcher John Gaub off of waivers from the Texas Rangers and optioned him to Triple-A Memphis.
"I know he's got a good arm, a plus arm," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said on Saturday afternoon. "I don't know a whole lot about him besides that. It's just another opportunity to bring someone in and see if we can help him and see if he can help us."
The 27-year-old, who was added to the 40-man roster, had a 6.75 earned-run average in four games with the Cubs last September.
He allowed two earned runs on two hits, struck out three and walked two in 2 2/3 innings. In his final three appearances, covering 1 1/3 innings, he allowed one hit, struck out two and walked one.
In 21 Triple-A appearances this season -- 16 with Durham (Tampa Bay organization) and five with Round Rock (Texas) -- Gaub went 0-1 with one save and a 3.43 ERA over 21 innings. He allowed eight runs on 13 hits, struck out 25 and walked 14.
Gaub was originally a 21st-round pick (641st overall) by the Cleveland Indians in the 2006 Draft. He was acquired by the Cubs, along with two other players, in a deal for Mark DeRosa in December of 2008. He was acquired by Tampa Bay on April 5 on a waiver claim from the Cubs and then acquired by Texas on May 24 on a waiver claim from the Rays.
Nate Latsch is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.