Cardinals New York Minutes: 07/21/11

MLB VP Joe Torre explains discipline process for suspended Cardinals shortstop Ryan Theriot, Tony La Russa pre-game comments and more news from New York.

We came into the clubhouse with the initial lineup for the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday game against the Mets with Ryan Theriot leading off at shortstop. First rumor of a lineup change that also affected Nick Punto was fueled by concern about his elbow. That was not the case. Instead MLB cut Theriot's suspension for bumping an umpire last weekend to one game – if served immediately on Thursday.

MLB VP Joe Torre was in St. Louis' clubhouse before the game and explained that they have a different discipline process for players than for managers. The latter group is handled by Torre and Joe Garagiola Jr. only. Torre said in Theriot's case, they took everything into consideration. They do a lot by gut feeling and consider each case differently. Torre pointed out that they did the same thing after the David Ortiz-Kevin Gregg fight – reduced suspensions to three games if they served it immediately.

Theriot said he was not called upon to speak to anyone and heard about the one game in a text message from his agent. Said his agent felt like it was the right thing to do (to accept the one game) and Theriot agreed. Alternative would have been a more formal hearing next week – likely by video conference.

Manager Tony La Russa obviously learned about it later, as his lineup card had been prepared assuming Theriot was available. "I wish they had gotten it done yesterday since he didn't play," La Russa joked.

La Russa pregame comments

On Punto: Showed Oquendo and trainers he can stretch it out (his throws).

On playing Jay over Rasmus Thursday: Jay has had more success against LHP. Tough lefty today. Not doing Colby any favors by sending him out there. If we didn't have Berkman, would have played Colby and Jay instead of Cruz. Have gotten more comments about playing Rasmus while struggling than when he sits.

On Salas: Only threw 15 pitches yesterday so hope he is needed today. Went through heart of lineup (yesterday in his first inning of work). Still quality (pitcher). Want to avoid pitching before ninth if possible.

On Lynn: Was at his upper range of pitches Wednesday night. His stuff looked different with his last couple of hitters. Thought he was vulnerable so brought Motte it. Did not want to use LHR because of available Mets pinch-hitters.

On Laird's bunt: Against Parnell throwing 100 MPH, it was a hell of a bunt. Aware Laird has done it often in his career. Jim Leyland (TLR friend, Detroit manager and Laird's former manager) called about it this morning.

Previous installments:
"Cardinals New York Minutes: 07/20/11"
"Cardinals New York Minutes: 07/19/11"

Brian Walton can be reached via email at Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at Follow Brian on Twitter.

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