ST. LOUIS -- Tyler Greene sees the timing of his recent hitting tear as no coincidence. Rather, beginning with a two-homer, four-RBI game in Houston on May 9, Greene has watched -- and felt -- a slight mechanical adjustment make a significant difference.
Greene, who collected his first career game-winning RBI to cap Monday's three-hit night, has found the success at the same time that he's worked on keeping his back elbow down during his swing. The result is a more direct path to the ball, and he's been able to find a more consistent swing as a result.
"I feel great," Greene said. "I've felt great since that day in Houston. The results are starting to show itself through the long run here."
Beginning with that game in Houston, Greene has hit .308 with eight extra-base hits and six RBIs in 11 games. He has started 10 of the team's 15 games since May 9. Such production, manager Mike Matheny has said, will continue to earn Greene starts, even though the Cardinals have two other second basemen that they're also trying to work into the lineup.
"He continues to do things like [Monday] night that make you notice him," Matheny said. "It's the consistency. That's all we're looking for from anybody. We'll continue to give chances to him and other young players to see how they handle it. He's taken great strides forward, but we're going to continue to work him."
McClellan to avoid surgery on right elbow
ST. LOUIS -- Kyle McClellan returned to the Cardinals' clubhouse after a Monday trip to have his right elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. During that visit, McClellan received confirmation of the original diagnosis, which does not call for surgery.
McClellan opted to get a second opinion from Dr. Andrews, a noted orthopedist, before concluding with certainty that surgery would not be needed on his right elbow. McClellan was told by team physician Dr. George Paletta last Friday that he is suffering from a flexor pronator strain, as well as Grade 1 (mild) tear of his ulnar collateral ligament.
For now, McClellan will treat the injury with 6-8 weeks of rest. He also had a platelet-rich plasma injection in his right arm on Tuesday, designed to aid with the healing of bone and soft tissue.
"[Dr. Andrews] told me before I left that he expects me to be able to come back and pitch in August and September and for the rest of my career without any more elbow problems," McClellan said. "When you hear that from him and Dr. Paletta, it makes you feel a whole lot better about your decision."
McClellan had initially feared that he was headed for his second Tommy John surgery. He underwent the procedure as a Minor Leaguer in 2005, and a second Tommy John surgery has a lower percentage of success than the first.
Though McClellan first alerted the Cardinals to some elbow pain during an appearance on May 17, he confirmed on Tuesday that he had already been feeling discomfort for close to three weeks before that outing. McClellan also now sees evidence that something was wrong. He was regularly leaving balls up and away to left-handed hitters, a sign that he wasn't getting the extension he needed on his release.
Dr. Andrews told McClellan that he did not do additional damage to his elbow by pitching through that initial pain.
"This is definitely a relief," McClellan said. "When I went to [Dr.] Paletta, I was sore, I was hurting. When I brushed my teeth, I could feel it. There were a lot of things that made me think, 'This is not going to be good.' It's definitely a lot better than I anticipated."
Chambers makes first career start
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals manager Mike Matheny felt it was time that Adron Chambers got his chance. Chambers, who was called up to the Cardinals from Triple-A Memphis on Friday to replace an injured Allen Craig, got his first Major League start on Tuesday against the Padres.
"I just want him to play his game," Matheny said of the 25-year-old center fielder. "It'll work out how it's supposed to. We need to get him in there. He hasn't had any really good chances at the plate to keep doing what he was doing in Memphis. This will be a good chance for him."
The speedy Chambers hit .308 in 37 games with Memphis this season. He made an appearance in a 6-5 loss to the Dodgers on Friday, pinch-running and playing two innings in the outfield, but had yet to have a Major League at-bat before Tuesday.
"Obviously what I've been doing from the beginning," Chambers said when asked about his approach. "Get a good pitch to hit, run some balls down, try to steal some bases and make sure we have more runs than they do in the end."
Chambers will relieve a struggling Shane Robinson. Robinson, who has started the last six games in center, hasn't been able to get into a groove in May. After batting a blistering .419 in April, Robinson is hitting .065 this month, while battling for consistent playing time.
"He goes through Spring Training, just like a lot of young players, in there every day and getting at-bats," Matheny said. "But the timing of game speed is different. He's going to have to just keep working and take advantage of the opportunities that he gets at game speed to kind of catch back up."
Chambers has been in a similar situation, biding his time for chances to contribute. And now that that time has come, Chambers plans to make the most of it.
"This is the game of baseball," Chambers said. "You wait for your opportunity, just like you're waiting on-deck before you go out to the plate. I'm happy that my chance came today, and let's see what I can do."
Third baseman David Freese remained out of the starting lineup for a second straight day as he works through some mechanical issues with his swing. Matheny is hopeful that the time off will also allow Freese to mentally reset after a 3-for-34 stretch.
Matheny did not commit to inserting Freese back into the lineup on Wednesday, preferring to wait and make that decision after evaluating the work Freese does Tuesday. Matheny also suggested that he would prefer to stay away from using Freese as a pinch-hitter.
"For the most part, I would like to keep him on the shelf for a little while," Matheny said. "A lot of times you go in there and you work and you work and then you try and throw something in there mechanically in a situation with the game on the line and you can't help but take your mechanics out there. That's never a good spot. You can't be thinking mechanics when you're trying to hit a guy throwing 100 mph."
Kolten Wong, the organization's top pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, was named Texas League Player of the Week for his performance from May 14-20. Wong, who is in his first season with Double-A Springfield, went 14-for-31 (.452) during that stretch and drove in at least one run in six of Springfield's seven games last week. He is now hitting .331 in 39 games this season.
Jon Jay (sprained right shoulder) said he continues to limit his work to physical therapy. Jay, who is eligible to come off the disabled list on May 31, has not resumed throwing. He did not make a prediction when he will begin.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. Mike Still is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.