Munoz is not in the lineup Wednesday against the Phillies, Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports. Munoz will hit the bench following a string of eight straight starts during which he hit a solid .310/.355/.310 with a stolen base. Greg Garcia will pick up a start at shortstop in his stead, hitting seventh.
Munoz went 3-for-4 Saturday against the Cubs. Munoz collected three singles for an empty three-hit performance Saturday. Batting nearly exclusively in the bottom-third of the Cardinals' lineup has made it difficult for him to produce consistent counting stats, as he has just three RBI and two runs scored in 42 June at-bats.
Munoz is out of the lineup Sunday against the Reds, Jim Hayes of FOX Sports Midwest reports. The move to the bench for the series finale ends a stretch of six straight starts for the 23-year-old, during which he went 4-for-22 with a home run. In spite of the recent skid, Munoz is still hitting a commendable .263/.313/.408 in his first season in the big leagues and should retain primary duties at shortstop over Greg Garcia until Paul DeJong (hand) is ready to return from the disabled list, likely at some point prior to the All-Star break.
Munoz went 1-for-5 with a solo home run in an extra-innings win over the Reds on Friday. The rookie blasted one of three homers off the embattled Matt Harvey, with the other two coming off the red-hot bat of Jose Martinez. Munoz has begun to consistently square up on the ball of late, as he's sporting a .342 wOBA (including three homers), a .270 ISO, a 37.5 percent HR/FB rate and a 39.3 percent hard contact rate over the 40 plate appearances spanning his last 10 games.
Munoz went 1-for-3 with an RBI single and a walk in a win over the Pirates on Sunday. He was also caught stealing on his only attempt. The rookie continues to wield a hot bat, as he's now hit safely in nine of his last 10 starts. That stretch includes four multi-hit efforts, as well as a walk-off three-run home run against the Pirates last Thursday in the opening game of the series. Munoz has now logged 10 starts at shortstop in the 16 games that Paul DeJong (hand) has missed thus far, and beyond his strong offensive contributions he's made an impression on manager Mike Matheny with his glove as well, Joe Trezza of MLB.com reports. "Watching how Yairo has taken advantage of this opportunity defensively and at the plate is a great example of what you have to do when you get backed into a corner," Matheny said.
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