Matheny, a major league catcher from 1994-06, is scheduled to have an epidural injection Monday to reduce inflammation and get a particle off a nerve. If the injection doesn't help alleviate pain, he said surgery would "have to be something we would consider."
Starting his second season as the Cardinals' manager, Matheny has had back issues for several years.
"I've had problems for a long time, off and on," he said Sunday. "I've been on a program to kind of strengthen it, but ... something set it off in a bad direction. I don't know exactly what it was.
Matheny did not travel with the team to Kissimmee on Friday, citing back pain and food poisoning. He returned to manage the Cardinals on Saturday in Jupiter.
St. Louis Blues Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced the club has placed forward Andy McDonald on Injured Reserve today. McDonald is listed as week-to-week after suffering a left knee injury during practice yesterday at St. Louis Mills. In addition, the Blues have listed forward Alex Steen as day-to-day with an upper body injury. Steen was also injured during yesterday’s practice.
McDonald, 35, has appeared in all 18 of the Blues’ games this season tallying 11 points including three goals and eight assists. Overall, the 5’10, 175-pound forward has dressed in 666 National Hockey League (NHL) games accumulating 479 points including 178 goals and 301 assists.
Steen, 28, has appeared in all 18 of the Blues’ games this season and leads the team with 16 points including four goals and 12 assists. Overall, the 6’0, 212-pound forward has dressed in 515 NHL games totaling 292 points including 119 goals and 173 assists. The Winnipeg, Manitoba native was originally drafted by Toronto in the first round, 24th overall, of the 2002 Entry Draft.
Making his first appearance since injuring his shoulder in the playoffs, the left-hander got through two shutout innings Tuesday as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Boston Red Sox 15-4.
In Game 2 of the NL division series against Washington, Garcia was pulled after two innings because of a strained rotator cuff and inflammation.
Garcia kept the Red Sox scoreless, working around three hits and a walk. He threw 43 pitches, 30 for strikes, and struck out two.
"I'm excited about today," Garcia said. "This is good, but I'm not going to sit here and tell you this is the best I've ever felt. No. This is good. This is good enough. I'm excited about that. But compared to last year, this is something I can build on."
Garcia gave up consecutive singles to Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava to open the game before retiring the next three batters, including Ryan Lavarnway on a strikeout.
With one out in the second, Garcia walked Drew Sutton and gave up a double to Jose Iglesias before getting out of the inning, fanning Bradley to end the inning.
"To be honest with you, there was some excitement going on there especially because it was the first time in a real game after the stuff that happened last year," Garcia said. "A lot of good things from it. Physically, I feel fine. A little jumpy at the beginning. I was happy with the way I felt physically, with the way it went."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was pleased with what he saw from Garcia.
"I made a commitment to myself not to microscope him," Matheny said. "I just know he's going to be out there. He's going to do the things that he says he's going to be out there to do. He looked good today."
Boston starter Ryan Dempster made his Grapefruit League debut against a familiar foe. He has appeared in 49 career games against the Cardinals, more than any other active pitcher.
Signed as a free agent in the offseason, he pitched two hitless innings and struck out two. He threw 33 pitches, 24 for strikes. The only runner against him was Oscar Tavares, who reached on an error by second baseman Jonathan Diaz.
"Things went good," Dempster said. "Felt like body and arm felt good. Was able to attack the strike zone for the most part. Good first day."
Red Sox manager John Farrell enjoyed Dempster's outing.
"He threw the ball well, established his fastball, showed a good split against righties and lefties both," Farrell said. "Went out and did exactly what we hoped he'd do in two innings of work."
"He was clean. Did a good job of controlling the running game. I thought he threw the ball very well for his first outing in camp," he said.
Red Sox reliever Clayton Mortensen took the loss, allowing three runs on two hits and two walks in two innings. Tony Cruz hit a three-run double with two outs in the third.
"I thought he threw the ball better than the line shows," Farrell said.
Matt Adams, who had been slowed by tendinitis in his knee, had a two-run, pinch-hit homer for the Cardinals. He later drew a bases-loaded walk.
"He's got big-time power," Matheny said. "He's got a pretty good idea of the strike zone and a pretty good idea of his swing and he repeats it."
NOTES: Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz, who had been slowed by a right hamstring strain on the first day of official workouts for pitchers and catchers, threw a two-inning, 40-pitch simulated game Tuesday morning. He is expected to start Saturday against the Twins. ... Boston 1B Mike Napoli is expected to get into his first game on Friday when the Red Sox host the Pirates. Napoli, who joined Boston as a free agent this offseason, is being brought along slowly this after his team physical revealed he has avascular necrosis in both hips. ... Farrell didn't rule out the possibility of Bradley, one of Boston's top prospects, making the team out of spring training. Bradley, who was promoted to Double-A during the season last year, will get some games in right field when Shane Victorino leaves for the World Baseball Classic. ... Switch-hitting SS Rafael Furcal reported he felt fine after taking some swings left-handed on Monday. Furcal, who tore a ligament in his right elbow last season and has been bothered by a bone spur this spring, received an anti-inflammatory injection in the joint on Friday. He said he could get into a game this weekend for the Cardinals.
Craig and Matt Holliday each hit their first homers of spring training, leading the St. Louis Cardinals to a 10-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday.
Craig was starting as the designated hitter. He reached base in all three at-bats, adding a walk and an RBI single.
"I feel good," he said. "We're just taking it extremely slow. It's a really long spring. I want to get out here and play in the field, but at the same time the season starts April 1 and I want to be ready for that."
The homers were back-to-back as part of a five-run third inning that broke the game open.
Holliday's two-run drive landed on the balcony of the Miami Marlins clubhouse beyond the left-center field wall, driving in Kolton Wong. The Marlins and Cardinals share the Roger Dean Stadium complex.
"I hit it pretty good," Holiday said. "I'm just trying to put good swings out there."
Pete Kozma added a solo homer in the seventh for St. Louis.
Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals' likely opening-day starter, allowed four hits while striking out three in 2 2-3 scoreless innings.
"The ball came out nice - I moved the ball around a little bit," Wainwright said "It was a good place to start."
Wainwright's counterpart, Phillip Humber didn't fare as well.
After needing only eight pitches to retire the Cardinals in the first inning, Humber walked the first two batters of the inning before David Freese lined a pitch off the right-field wall, scoring Craig.
Humber issued another walk but managed to get out of the inning without allowing another run.
"I just didn't throw strikes," said Humber, who was selected off waivers from the White Sox during the offseason. "It's not the ideal second inning that you want to have, but it's my first time out there. I'm not going to get myself worked up over it."
Former Cardinals pitcher and outfielder Rick Ankiel received an ovation from the crowd before his first at-bat, then promptly ripped a double to the left-center wall. Ankiel was thrown out trying to stretch the play into a triple. He went 1 for 2.
NOTES: Manager Mike Matheny acknowledged the Cardinals have considered giving Yadier Molina some reps at first base. Craig and Matt Adams are both dealing with injuries and Molina could play some first base for Puerto Rico in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. ... Matheny said pitcher Jake Westbrook will get his first start of the spring on Thursday against Miami. Joe Kelly is slated to start Friday at Houston. ... Two Cardinals' former first-round draft choices (Tyler Greene and Brett Wallace) and one second-round selection (Rick Ankiel) appeared in the Astros' starting lineup on Monday. Another former Cardinal farmhand, C. J. Fick also pitched in relief. Jeff Luhnow was the St. Louis VP of Scouting and Player Development before becoming the Houston general manager. ...Houston pitcher Paul Clemens slipped on the wet field in the late innings while trying to cover first and remained on the ground for about a minute. Houston trainers came out to check on Clemens, who walked off the field without help.
Brady agreed to a three-year contract extension with New England on Monday, a person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press. The extension is worth about $27 million and will free up nearly $15 million in salary cap room for the team, which has several younger players it needs to re-sign or negotiate new deals with.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the extension has not been announced.
Sports Illustrated first reported the extension.
The 35-year-old two-time league MVP was signed through 2014, and has said he wants to play at least five more years.
A three-time Super Bowl champion, Brady will make far less in those three seasons than the going rate for star quarterbacks. Brady currently has a four-year, $72 million deal with $48 million guaranteed.
Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are the NFL's highest-paid quarterbacks, at an average of $20 million and $18 million a year, respectively.
Brady has made it clear he wants to finish his career with the Patriots, whom he led to Super Bowl wins for the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons, and losses in the big game after the 2007 and 2011 seasons. By taking less money in the extension and redoing his current contract, he's hopeful New England can surround him with the parts to win more titles.
Among the Patriots' free agents are top receiver Wes Welker and his backup, Julian Edelman; right tackle Sebastian Vollmer; cornerback Aqib Talib; and running back Danny Woodhead.
Brady has been the most successful quarterback of his era, of course, as well as one of the NFL's best leaders. His skill at running the no-huddle offense is unsurpassed, and he's easily adapted to the different offensive schemes New England has concentrated on through his 13 pro seasons.
The Patriots have gone from run-oriented in Brady's early days to a deep passing team with Randy Moss to an offense dominated by throws to tight ends, running backs and slot receivers.
Brady holds the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season with 50 in 2007, when the Patriots went 18-0 before losing the Super Bowl to the Giants. He has thrown for at least 28 touchdowns seven times and led the league three times.
Last season, Brady had 34 TD passes and eight interceptions as the Patriots went 12-4, leading the league with 557 points, 76 more than runner-up Denver.
Look for Gonzaga on the map and it takes someone in the know to find the Catholic school in the corner of the Pacific Northwest. Look for the Zags on the basketball map at this time of the year and they're usually a lot easier to find.
John Stockton once played for the school, before he went on to a Hall of Fame career making sure the Mailman was always in position to deliver. Stockton's son, David, plays there now, though he's not quite the assist machine his father once was.
Gonzaga has gone to the last 14 NCAA tournaments, once advancing to within one win of the Final Four. They're usually the kind of team other coaches hate to face early because they always seem so fundamentally sound.
Now they're No. 2 in The Associated Press Top 25 poll this week, the school's highest ranking ever. And as selection time gets near and the No. 1 seeds are picked, the question becomes this:
Why not Gonzaga?
Why not, indeed. If there's ever a season a mid-major can become a No. 1 seed and get on the inside track to the Final Four, it's this one.
The Zags have been tournament darlings before, sure. But this year they're a legitimate top-five pick on anyone's ballot - and a No. 1 pick by one voter in the AP weekly poll.
Parity reigns across the nation and, until Indiana solidified things at the top, being No. 1 was a crown to be worn uneasily. But while the Bulldogs may play in a small conference, they played a big-school schedule to make sure they're ready in March.
They're done with the label of being the little school that can. Their coach points to the schedule and says they can't even be considered a mid-major anymore.
They've been playing - and beating - the big boys for so long they're simply a very good college basketball team. Period.
"Our body of work speaks for itself," guard Mike Hart said Monday. "Our two losses (Illinois and at Butler) were quality losses. We've had a great group of games and a schedule that has been tough."
That Gonzaga is a heartbeat away from the top spot in American basketball is largely due to a pair of Canadians who couldn't be more different.
Kevin Pangos is the guard who grew up idolizing Steve Nash and can't stand to not be in the gym. Kelly Olynyk is the late-blooming 7-footer with the flowing locks who looks like he would be comfortable joining Bill Walton at a Grateful Dead concert.
Pangos was a success from the minute he put on a uniform at Gonzaga, coming off the bench in his first game as a freshman last year and then starting every game since. Olynyk, who grew seven inches while in high school, struggled off the bench for two seasons before taking a year off last season to bulk up and work on his skill set and become one of the top big men in the country.
Together they've got the Bulldogs at 27-2 with two games left until the West Coast Conference tournament.
It would all be heady stuff, except Gonzaga has been here before. Maybe not quite this high in the rankings, but coach Mark Few's team has won four of every five games since he took over in 1999, and the Zags always seem to be in the mix late in the season.
If there's a knock against the Bulldogs - the official team nickname, though they're known everywhere as the Zags - it's the usual one for teams from smaller schools (Gonzaga's enrollment is about 7,500). They play in a conference with schools they almost always dominate, making it hard to get a fix on just how good they are once the conference schedule begins.
If they were a football team, they'd be Boise State. The formula is win a few tough ones early, then beat up on conference wannabes and move up in the rankings while teams in more competitive conferences struggle. This deep into the season, though, Gonzaga has no doubt it belongs among the elite teams in the country.
"The polls mean a lot more this time of year than they do in November, December, even January," Few said. "All of us are being judged on the true body of work. It's definitely rewarding. It establishes us as a national program, which I believe we have been for the last 10 years. This group has done a great job of competing at that level, winning games at the highest level."
To win a bunch of them in a row in the NCAA tournament requires the kind of talent that some Gonzaga teams of the past have lacked. The difference this year might be Olynyk, a rare big man with the ball-handling instincts of the guard he once was.
After redshirting as a junior last year, he's now a potential first-round NBA pick averaging 17.7 points and seven rebounds a game.
"He grew up and his game grew up," Few said.
The same might be said about the school nobody in basketball considers little anymore.
Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or HTTP://TWITTER.COM/TIMDAHLBERG
The Jayhawks have responded with five straight victories, including Self's milestone win on Monday night.
Now the conference crown that seemed out of reach is Kansas' to lose.
Elijah Johnson scored a career-high 39 points - including eight in the final 29 seconds of regulation and 12 in overtime - and No. 6 Kansas rallied to beat Iowa State 108-96.
"I thought that when we lost those three in a row, we put ourselves in a situation where it was going to be very, very, very difficult because the toughest part of our schedule remained," Self said. "Our guys responded really well."
Travis Releford added 19 points for the Jayhawks (24-4, 12-3 Big 12), who snapped Iowa State's 22-game home winning streak and kept pace with No. 13 Kansas State - which has already lost twice to Kansas - atop the Big 12.
They have Johnson to thank for that.
He hit two 3s and then made two free throws with 4.9 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 90-all. He and Releford buried 3s to put Kansas ahead 100-92 with 2:03 left in overtime, and Johnson drilled a 30-footer with 54 seconds left that deflated a sellout crowd.
"He was in attack mode. He just played great," Self said of Johnson. "He deserved a night like (Monday) because he does work hard and his attitude is so good. He was actually special."
The path to a share of a ninth straight Big 12 title is now clear for the Jayhawks, who lost to the Cowboys, TCU and Oklahoma before turning things around.
Kansas' remaining regular-season schedule; West Virginia and Texas Tech at home, Baylor on the road, doesn't appear that daunting as the Jayhawks go for at least a share of their ninth straight Big 12 title.
"We control our own destiny. So does K-State. Of course, this is a hard place to win, as evidenced by their long winning streak. If we take care of business at home, we know we'll at least have a chance to play, get a piece of it going to Baylor," Self said.
Korie Lucious scored 23 points and Tyrus McGee had 22 for the Cyclones (19-9, 9-6), who dropped their third overtime game in Big 12 play - and their second straight at the hands of the Jayhawks.
After the game a handful of fans in the student section hurled small plastic megaphones at the Jayhawks as they ran back to their locker room.
The anger seemed to be directed at Johnson's dunk with 2 seconds left in overtime and the game well in hand. Johnson opened the postgame press conference by apologizing to Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, saying he simply got caught up in the moment.
"I shouldn't have dunked that ball," Johnson said. "I should have dribbled it out."
For Iowa State, this loss was painfully similar to the one in Lawrence on Jan. 9.
Ben McLemore banked in a late 3 to force overtime in a game the Cyclones had controlled throughout. The Jayhawks prevailed, and though the Cyclones bounced back they certainly didn't forget their lost night in Lawrence.
But with March just around the corner, Iowa State and the rest of the league are chasing the Jayhawks - again.
"Our guys battled. I've been saying that all year. Hopefully we have a lot of season left," Hoiberg said. "I love our guys. They're going to continue to fight back."
Self, who began his head coaching career at Oral Roberts, is 293-57 at Kansas. He tied former Temple legend John Chaney by reaching 500 victories in his first 662 games.
His milestone night got off to an interesting start, though.
Self was called for a rare technical foul for arguing a call less than 3 minutes into the game - much to the delight of a raucous, sellout crowd decked out in bright gold.
Self said after the game that he wanted to draw it in order to fire up his team.
It worked - as have many other moves on the journey to 500.
"I don't think it really means that much to be honest. I'm glad we got it. It means I've been doing it for a while," Self said. "All I really care is if this team is having the best year possible."
Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter: WWW.TWITTER.COM/LUKEMEREDITHAP
Patrick made history up front at the Daytona 500, only to see Johnson make a late push ahead of her and reclaim his spot at the top of his sport.
It was the second Daytona victory for Johnson, a five-time NASCAR champion who first won "The Great American Race" in 2006.
Patrick, the first woman to win the pole, also became the first woman to lead the race. She was running third on the last lap, but faded to eighth at the finish.
Johnson raced past defending NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski on the final restart and pulled out to a sizable lead that nobody challenged over the final six laps.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. settled for second place. Mark Martin was third.
Keselowski, who overcame two accidents earlier in the race, wound up fourth.
Patrick was clearly disappointed with her finish but admitted she wasn't sure what move to make if she was going to try for the win.
These days, being busy is simply all in a night's work for Varlamov.
The young goaltender stopped 33 shots and Jones scored at 4:43 of overtime, leading the Avalanche to a 1-0 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night in front of a smattering of boisterous fans that braved a winter storm.
Try as he might, though, Varlamov just couldn't pick out a save that stood out.
To him, they were all solid as he posted his second shutout of the season.
The closest St. Louis came to getting anything past him was when Alexander Steen lost his balance and slid into the goal.
"Varly looked very sharp," coach Joe Sacco said. "He's been doing that lately."
That he has. He's seen 126 shots over his past three games.
Not that he minds the work, especially when it pays off like this.
"That was good," Varlamov said. "We played very well."
His performance paved the way for Jones, who scored his first goal since Jan. 22. On his only shot of the game, too.
Matt Hunwick set up the winning goal by bringing the puck into the zone and passing it over to Jones, who sent a wrist shot over the left shoulder of Jaroslav Halak.
"I placed it well enough to beat," said Jones, who scored his sixth career OT goal.
Halak had a slightly different take. He thought the puck deflected off a defenseman, leading to the crazy carom that got by him.
"It was a deflection," Halak said. "Changed direction on me."
Halak stopped 19 shots in his first appearance since coming off injured reserve earlier this month with a strained groin. He got the start with rookie Jake Allen playing the night before and Brian Elliott struggling.
"It's always great to be back, back on the ice and playing games and being around the team," Halak said. "Obviously, I'm not happy with the result."
Neither was St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock.
"We had all kinds of chances and we didn't finish around the net," Hitchcock said. "Left the game out there and they made us pay."
The Blues have had quite an arduous traveling adventure of late. The team recently spent 14 hours stranded in Vancouver due to plane trouble, only to arrive back in St. Louis at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday. That night, the Blues dropped a 2-1 decision to San Jose.
But they showed no signs of fatigue against Colorado, controlling the pace of play for most of the game.
St. Louis was scheduled to leave town after the game. Weather forecasters were expecting the Denver area to receive up to eight inches of snow.
Colorado suffered a blow to its offense when forward Milan Hejduk didn't return for the final period because of a torso injury. The 37-year-old just recently recorded the 800th point of his career, becoming only the second Avalanche player to reach that milestone.
Midway through the final period, Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko left the ice with a towel draped over his mouth after taking a hit from Mark Olver near the boards. Tarasenko was escorted by trainers into the locker room.
No penalty was called on the play.
Vladimir Sobotka nearly put the Blues on the board in the second period when he cruised in after two Avalanche players collided near the blue line and knocked each other over. Just as Sobotka was about to shoot, though, Varlamov stuck out his stick and swatted away the puck.
However, Tyson Barrie was called for hooking on the play. St. Louis couldn't take advantage of the power play, leaving the game scoreless through two periods.
Halak caught a break 40 seconds into the opening period when Jamie McGinn's shot clanged off the left post. McGinn had another chance later when P.A. Parenteau hit him in stride at the blue line and he had a clear path to the goal.
But a diving Roman Polak knocked the puck away, along with the goal post as the Blues defenseman slid right into it with his right leg. Polak stayed down in the corner for a few minutes before gingerly skating to the bench. He later returned to the game.
The Avalanche struggled in the first period and had a season-low two shots.
They may soon receive a much-needed offensive boost with captain Gabriel Landeskog on the mend from a concussion that's sidelined him for nearly a month. Landeskog went through drills with his teammates at the morning skate Wednesday, wearing a bright orange jersey so no one would hit him.
The league's reigning rookie of the year is hoping to join the team on a three-game road swing through California starting this weekend. He's trying to quickly work his way back into game shape.
Said Landeskog: "My hands aren't quite there yet, feet aren't quite there. My lungs aren't quite there. But I'm working on it, trying to get better every day."
Notes: Johnson (head injury) missed his fourth straight game. ... Jones is third in franchise history in career OT goals, trailing Hejduk (nine) and Joe Sakic (seven). ... Blues D Barret Jackman played in his 615th career game, tying him with Bob Plager for fifth-most in franchise history.