Considering he's had the same foot problem over the last 2 years, and last year a hammy injury, and was on that same cardinal team that blew away the division before september, he still had the most AB's in his career. (592)
The only game he took off in September last year was a september 5th game against the DOdgers. He played the rest of the month, even with a 10+ game lead in the NL central.
He's more healthy going into this season then he was mid-season last year.
I think individual season awards and accolades, along with home field advantage is enough incentive for superstars to demand to play every day...regardless of the teams overrall record.
It is very unlikely st louis murders the central division this year anyway. (but thats just my opinion)