Mike Matheny heading to St. Louis for back procedure

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Cardinals manager Mike Matheny will leave camp in Jupiter, Florida to head back to St. Louis for a procedure on his ailing back. MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch has the details:

The procedure, which is called a microdisectomy, will help alleviate the pain that has been caused by a ruptured disc. A fragment from the disc that is pressing against a nerve will be removed.

Matheny will miss the club’s games on Monday and Tuesday but is expected to return to Jupiter, Fla., on Wednesday, which is an off day for the team.

In Matheny’s absence, bench coach Mike Aldrete will become the active manager. First base coach Chris Maloney takes Aldrete’s spot as bench coach, and Memphis Redbirds manager Ron Warner takes Maloney’s spot at first base.

Matheny, who has not only suffered from back problems but countless concussions as well, was in the news recently as an advocate for improving catcher safety.

Another young fan was struck by a foul ball, this time at Guaranteed Rate Field

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ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.

A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.

Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.