ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny hasn't fully committed to a Saturday starter in Atlanta, but he said Tuesday that it's likely to be Joe Kelly.
"We're at that point where if we are going to go that route, it's going to be hard to use him [in relief]," Matheny said. "But Joe's done a nice job, so that's kind of our plan."
The one thing that could derail that plan, however, is a need for Kelly to pitch out of the bullpen before Saturday. Kelly has been the primary long reliever for the Cardinals this season and has filled in on several occasions when a starter has been pulled early. Carlos Martinez, who was being stretched out into a starter at Triple-A Memphis before his July 11 callup, could fill that role to keep Kelly on track to start.
"Something could drastically change that, depending on if we needed more help than what we thought we were going to," Matheny said. "Joe would be ready to jump in there, but we're starting to lean in that direction of having Joe ready [for Saturday]."
Kelly is 1-1 and has posted a 3.18 ERA in three starts this season.
Carpenter's rehab delayed by hand numbness
ST. LOUIS -- Chris Carpenter has hit yet another bump on his road to recovery.
The veteran right-hander has temporarily stalled his rehab program after experiencing some numbness and weakness in his right hand throughout his last rehab start Saturday with Triple-A Memphis.
"I'm going to take a little bit of time," Carpenter said. "After that last one [Saturday], it just wasn't what we were looking for. I wasn't happy with the way that I recovered, and neither was the medical staff. We're going to take a step back again, and I said all along we're going to be very patient with what's going on and see what the next step is."
Carpenter said he came in on the Cardinals off-day Monday to discuss the issue with general manager John Mozeliak, manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Derek Lilliquist, determining that the best plan of action was to back off for the time being. Carpenter said he planned to meet with doctors and team trainers Tuesday evening to decide the next step in his rehab program.
"We want to make sure everything stays together, everything stays strong before we get too far ahead of ourselves," Carpenter said.
Carpenter tossed 74 pitches in the start Saturday, giving up four earned runs on nine hits and two walks with a pair of strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings. He threw 54 pitches on July 15, allowing six hits and three runs with five strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings.
He suffered another setback last month, experiencing some lower back tightness, but this latest issue is related to the thoracic outlet syndrome that sidelined him in the first place. Yet the 38-year-old righty remained optimistic that his comeback hopes haven't been derailed by this latest obstacle, noting that both his velocity and strength are coming along well.
"I'm not giving up," Carpenter said. "I feel like it's there, there's something there, because I had it in Springfield for a little bit. It's just a question on how can we get it to stay."
Holliday says hamstring strain is fully healed
ST. LOUIS -- While he isn't eligible to come off the disabled list until Saturday, outfielder Matt Holliday said Tuesday that his right hamstring is now 100 percent healthy.
"I feel great," Holliday said. "I feel like the last couple of days have been just really good. I'll be ready to go [Saturday]. I'm ready to go right now."
Holliday ran at full speed without restrictions while the Phillies took some early batting practice Tuesday afternoon and should return to the lineup this weekend in Atlanta.
Holliday was placed on the DL last Saturday and has not played since suffering a right hamstring strain while running out a ground ball on July 11 against the Cubs. Although he said he's back to 100 percent several days before the end of his 15-day DL stint, Holliday said the move was still probably the right call.
"It's just hard when you look at that," Holliday said. "That's always a decision you can't really see into the future."
Jay 'shocked' at former college teammate's admission
ST. LOUIS -- The news of Ryan Braun's 65-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy is reverberating throughout the baseball world, and St. Louis is not immune.
Much of Tuesday's pregame chatter between reporters and players centered around the former National League MVP (2011), a former Miami teammate of Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay.
"I was just as shocked as everyone else," Jay said. "I'm glad that he was finally able to come out and put this behind him and move forward. It just shows that Major League Baseball is doing the best job they can to clean the game, and I'm proud to say that and happy about that."
Braun was a sophomore at Miami when Jay arrived as a freshman in 2004. They were teammates for two seasons before Braun was selected No. 5 overall by the Brewers in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.
"My thoughts aren't going to change on him," Jay said. "I know he's been there for me and been a good friend, and I've learned a lot from him over the years. And I'll stand by that. ... He obviously admitted to cheating, and I'm glad he's getting punished for it."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he didn't have many reactions to share regarding another team's player, but did offer his thoughts on the issue of performance-enhancing drugs.
"I think there are a lot of guys who have just been kind of led in a bad direction and think they can get away with something like this," Matheny said. "There's no getting around it. Sooner or later, even if someone does do something new that slips through the system, it won't be long before they're caught, and then they've got to deal with that hanging over their heads the rest of their lives."
• Holliday, who voiced his support in the offseason for harsher penalties for violating the league's drug policy, declined to answer questions regarding Braun's suspension.
• Carlos Beltran was back in the lineup Tuesday after he was given Sunday off for general soreness.
• Dating back to the start of the 2012 season, second baseman Matt Carpenter is batting .282 with two strikes against him, which is the best among all Major Leaguers in that span.
Chad Thornburg is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.