HOUSTON -- Cardinals reliever Maikel Cleto pitched 2 1/3 innings in Tuesday's 9-8 loss to the Astros. It was the longest stint of his career.

"We stretched him," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "I hated taking him that long, but we were stuck in a spot. Somebody had to be our long guy and he came in and did a great job.

"I don't think we're going to see Cleto. "He did a great job, but he threw 41 pitches. So we're not going to see him tonight. He'll probably need two days."

Sam Freeman went 1 1/3 and will be limited, but according to Matheny, the rest of the bullpen is ready to go.

"Freeman could come in for one hitter [Wednesday], I would assume," Matheny said. "He did a nice job [Tuesday]. It was just the one error that was really the only negative from that outing."

The lefty struck out left- and right-handed batters Tuesday, fanning a total of three during his outing.

"He should, he's got a nice changeup," Matheny said. "It's a changeup that's effective enough to let him face a righty in between two lefties."

Garcia being examined in St. Louis

HOUSTON -- Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia, who lasted just two innings on Tuesday after missing his previous scheduled start with elbow problems, is back in St. Louis being examined by physicians.

"He's back in St. Louis getting some tests," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "So we should know more in a day or so. Just getting everything checked out, trying to figure this thing out. We're having doctors run as much of an exam over him and check out the different things that are bothering him -- the shoulder, the elbow and there's still some hip things."

Matheny said the hip injury had been lingering, but he wasn't fully aware of it.

"It's something that was there," he said. "I don't think it was a big deal. There's just multiple things going on."

Matheny said he wasn't sure what to do with Garcia's spot in the rotation, but wouldn't completely rule out Garcia until he has further information.

"I think we'll wait until we get past the doctors, see what they say, and then make an evaluation from there," he said.

Worth noting

• Matt Holliday got Wednesday off. "I've been trying to find [him a day off] for a while," Matheny said. "He's been going pretty hard. There aren't going to be many days that we want to give him [off]. A few guys needed one -- Carlos [Beltran] needed one, Yadi [Molina] needed one. Rafy [Furcal] needs one."

• Matt Carpenter took some soft-toss swings. "Everything feels real good," Matheny said. "I believe he's going to take batting practice tomorrow back home. If that clears, we'll be sending him out to get some at-bats. We want to make sure he's healed up and has got his timing back. Carpenter is due to come off the disabled list on Friday. "The guy works so hard," Matheny said. "Those kinds of players tend to have a quick recovery time.

• It's equally good news for Skip Schumaker. "He's moving along very well, but not a lot of baseball activities but just therapy and he seems to be responding quicker than normal," Matheny said.