Cardinals Major League Notebook: 07/15/11

As the Cardinals begin their final 70 games of the 2011 regular season, one starting pitcher, Jaime Garcia, has a new contract.



The Cardinals' extension of left-hander Jaime Garcia, 22-11 the last two years, for four more seasons and possibly six more, doesn't really affect next year's rotation because they had Garcia under control anyway.

But if options are not picked up on right-handers Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter, Garcia would be the ace of the staff at age 25.

Chances are good that Wainwright, who won 39 games in 2009-10 will be retained, even if Carpenter is not.

Otherwise, the Cardinals' rotation might look much the same as this year's with veteran right-handers Kyle Lohse and Jake Westbrook both under contract for next year at $11.875 million and $8.5 million, respectively, and right-hander Kyle McClellan eligible for arbitration but under control.

Before this season or even this month ends, however, the Cardinals might look to add a starting pitcher because Westbrook and McClellan notably have been unreliable lately.

Westbrook, 33, has failed to make it past six innings in five of his last seven starts and has a bloated 5.34 earned run average to go with a deceiving 7-4 record.

McClellan, who started quickly at 6-1, has lost five decisions in a row and seems to be victimized by one bad inning in each game. He would be the most likely to go the bullpen if another starter arrives because he was successful for the last three seasons as a reliever.

Left-handed hitters have not proven to be a problem for McClellan historically and the Cardinals certainly need relievers to get left-handed batters out other than veteran Trever Miller, who still is a reasonably good specialist but no more than that.


The Cardinals are starting their fourth and final three-city trip Friday night at Cincinnati. This one is required because of the setup and teardown for the U2 concert this Sunday at Busch Stadium. For the final 70 games, the schedule seems to favor the Cardinals because they do not have to play any game west of the Central time zone. To be seen most often are the Pittsburgh Pirates, against whom the Cardinals have 13 games remaining, nine of them in Pittsburgh.

If you're looking far ahead, the most intriguing home stand of the season and tied for the longest, comes from Sept. 2-11 when the Cardinals play three games each against Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Atlanta, all contenders.

It will be interesting to see how manager Tony La Russa employs his center fielders in the second half. Colby Rasmus, the incumbent, has been slumping for two months but probably is the better overall player than Jon Jay, who has proven to be a valuable reserve and, so far, a better hitter than Rasmus. Although Rasmus is a valuable chip, it is unlikely he would be traded until at least after the season.

RHP Eduardo Sanchez, who has been on an injury rehabilitation option (right shoulder irritation) might join the Cardinals in Cincinnati. OF/INF Allen Craig (broken right kneecap) is about ready for an assignment.

BY THE NUMBERS: 35 - Number of home games and also road games remaining for the Cardinals.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We just felt that he would be important to invest in."

- General manager John Mozeliak, on signing LHP Jaime Garcia to a four-year extension even before he reached his first year of arbitration.





LHP Brian Tallet (strained right intercostal muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4. He was injured while sneezing.

RHP Eduardo Sanchez (mild right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 13. He began a rehab assignment with Class AA Springfield on July 7,

OF Allen Craig (broken right kneecap) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 8. He hopes to go on a rehab assignment shortly after the All-Star break.

RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery in February 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 25. He will miss the entire 2011 season.


Fri., July 15: Cardinals (Jake Westbrook, 7-4, 5.34 ERA) at Reds (Johnny Cueto, 5-3, 1.96 ERA) 6:10 P.M. CDT (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


<a href='' target='_new' title='Garcia signs extension'>Video: Garcia signs extension</a>
Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia sheds light on why he decided to extend his stay with the club.

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