NEW YORK -- Noting that he was pleased that his players refused to highlight Adrian Johnson's errant fair-foul call following Johan Santana's no-hit performance on Friday, manager Mike Matheny reflected briefly on the controversy a day after.
While doing so, the direction of conversation naturally turned to the topic of instant replay, a subject that has plenty of supporters and dissidents in the game. Matheny places himself somewhere in the middle.
"I don't feel that strongly one way or another, because I think there is some negative to both sides," Matheny said. "I don't know where you draw the line. That's the big question."
Matheny's biggest concern about expanding an instant replay process that already allows umpires to review home run calls is the potential for such a system to drive the time of games longer. Giving teams a limit on how many times they can ask for a play to be reviewed is more realistic, Matheny said.
Major League Baseball has discussed the possibility of expanding instant replay to include fair-foul calls and trapped balls. Had such a system already been in place, the umpires would have been able to review Carlos Beltran's sixth-inning liner down the third-base line on Friday. That would have allowed the crew to correctly award Beltran a hit on the spot, taking away Santana's chance for a no-hitter.
"I'm glad I'm not making that decision," Matheny said. "I know these guys are going about their business trying to make the right calls. The umpire doesn't want that hanging over his head. We all answer to the decisions we make. I guess the replay would have taken that out of his hands, because that was pretty clear."
Excitement mounts for Matheny as Draft nears
NEW YORK -- Every few minutes during his pregame meeting with reporters on Saturday, manager Mike Matheny would glance over at the desktop monitor in his office. Streaming on that monitor was video from Meador Park in Springfield, Mo., where Matheny's son, Tate, was about to take the field.
A senior at Westminster Christian Academy, Tate Matheny helped lead the school's baseball team to a 10-4 win and State Championship title later in the day. As he did with Friday's state semifinal game, Matheny caught bits of the action from afar. Text updates from family and friends filled in the blanks.
Since stepping into his role, Matheny has encouraged his coaching staff and players to prioritize family whenever possible. In fact, pitching coach Derek Lilliquist is away from the team this weekend to attend his son's high school graduation.
Matheny missed Tate's high school graduation during the last homestand and joked on Saturday that he has done "badly so far" taking his own advice. However, Matheny does have the benefit of having his family permanently in St. Louis, unlike many members of the organization.
"For me, I know what to do," said Matheny, a father of five. "I was able to watch them play for a few years, and it was fun. They get it. They're great about it."
Matheny's personal and professional worlds will collide next week when Tate is expected to be selected in the First-Year Player Draft. Tate, who has a scholarship to play baseball at Missouri State, has talked to his father, a former eighth-round pick, as well as current Cardinal players about the decision he'll have to make between turning pro or heading to college.
Matheny hasn't shielded Tate from the process either, instead allowing his son to take phone calls directly from scouts.
"It's an exciting time for him," Matheny said. "To me, it's a no-lose situation. It will be obvious if a team feels strongly enough about him to make a decision. If not, he's got school waiting for him and an opportunity to go get better and get an education. I keep talking to him about it, but he hasn't put too much thought into it. He thinks it will be pretty clear."
The ultimate decision, Matheny said, will be up to his son.
"We've had a lot of good conversations and will continue to," Matheny said. "He and I will be talking a lot. It's been a good experience for him so far."
A day after making his return from the disabled list, Allen Craig returned to the bench on Saturday. The decision to sit Craig involved various factors, manager Mike Matheny said. One of those is Craig's health. Though Matheny said he feels "pretty confident in [Craig's] health right now," he intends to give Craig ample rest in these early days back.
Also a consideration was Carlos Beltran. While the Cardinals are confident that Beltran's achy knees can hold up in center, they also don't want to overexpose him in a position that is more active than right field. Said Matheny: "You just can't keep putting that pressure on Carlos to cover that whole outfield, too."
The Cardinals had no new information to provide on left-hander Jaime Garcia, whose next scheduled start is in question. Garcia remains in St. Louis, which is where he returned to after notifying the club of elbow discomfort. Garcia's next start lines up for Tuesday, though it is not certain that he will be able to make it.
Matt Carpenter (right oblique strain) continues to make progress back in St. Louis. Carpenter, who is eligible to come off the disabled list June 7, has resumed some baseball activities.
While the outing may not have been clean, Sam Freeman will remember his Major League debut not just for what he did, but for what was done around him. Freeman entered in the seventh inning of what would eventually be a Mets no-hitter on Friday, a day after Freeman found out he had been called up from Triple-A. Freeman allowed one hit, two walks and an earned run. He also struck out one in two-thirds of an inning.
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.