Cardinals Major League Notebook: 07/28/11

The Cardinals lost to Houston on a day when the Colby Rasmus trade dominated the news.



On a day when general manager John Mozeliak said, "This is a window to win," the Cardinals lost.

The quote referred to the bold move Mozeliak executed in trading enigmatic center fielder Colby Rasmus to Toronto in an eight-player swap that brought the Cardinals three pitchers -- hard-throwing right-handed starter Edwin Jackson, veteran right-handed reliever Octavio Dotel and perhaps, most important, left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczyski. The Cardinals' left-handed relief had been non-existent most of the season.

"Today we feel like we're a better team than we were yesterday," said Mozeliak.

On the field later in the day, though, the Cardinals misfired on offense several times and surrendered two runs in the ninth in a 4-2 loss to Houston.

Rasmus was hitting .246 for the season and under .190 for the last nine weeks and had been in a firestorm because manager Tony La Russa had said Rasmus was rejecting most of the instructions of the coaching staff and "listening to somebody else (his father, Tony)."

"I guess it's time to move on," said Colby Rasmus, whose outfield spot on the roster will be taken by Corey Patterson, who also came from Toronto. Jon Jay, who has missed just two of 104 games as a fourth outfielder, will be the new starter in center field.

Two of the upshots of the deal were that Jackson, who has been traded five times (technically six, counting his move from the Chicago White Sox to Toronto earlier in the day) by the age of 27, will move into the rotation. And right-hander Kyle McClellan, 7-6 as compared to Jackson's 7-7, will be moved back to the bullpen, where he spent his first three years with the Cardinals.



With the acquisition of three pitchers from Toronto, pitching coach Dave Duncan has one-fourth of a new staff. "In the bullpen, I like - I don't know how to say his name (Mark Rzepczynski)," said Duncan. "I think he's really going to be a help. And everything I've able to find out about (Octavio) Dotel is that he's still throwing really well. As far as the rotation goes, I've heard nothing but good stuff about Edwin Jackson's physical abilities. It's going to be interesting seeing him because you would think that a guy with a reputation of having electric stuff would have had more success (55-58). He's going to be a real interesting guy."

RHP Kyle McClellan, moved back to the bullpen after the big trade, has had six big-league saves. "Over the last few years, with what I've done in the bullpen, I don't think there's anything that shows I can't do that," he said. "I definitely wouldn't shy away from it." Pitching coach Dave Duncan said, "I wouldn't be afraid to put him out there in the ninth inning."

The Cardinals have lost just three of 11 meetings with Houston this year. All three of the Astros' wins have been started by RHP Bud Norris, who is 6-2 against the Cardinals and 14-18 against the rest of the majors. "He's got a great arm. There's no doubt about that," said Cardinals RHP Chris Carpenter. "I'm not sure why he doesn't beat anybody else. With his stuff and his arm, it's surprising."

RHP Chris Carpenter gave up just two runs in seven innings Wednesday, on a second-inning homer off an 0-2 pitch to Houston SS Clint Barmes. "It was a really good pitch. That ball was off the plate inside and below his knees," said Carpenter. "I don't second-guess that pitch at all."

LF Matt Holliday, who missed a game with stomach flu, returned to the lineup and doubled twice. But RF Lance Berkman, still having trouble with a right shoulder strain, will be out at least another day or two, according to manager Tony La Russa.

OF Jon Jay takes over in center field with the trade of CF Colby Rasmus to Toronto. "It's definitely exciting," said Jay. "I'm sad to see (Rasmus) leave because he's one of my buddies. But on the other side of it, we're making moves to win this year and go on a run, which is huge."

LHP Trever Miller, also sent to Toronto, pitched just 1 1/3 innings this month. "I take most of the blame, but not all of it," said Miller. "They obviously lost some confidence in me. I wasn't getting the ball routinely. And when I did get it, I didn't get the job done."

BY THE NUMBERS: 997 - Strikeouts by RHP Chris Carpenter as a Cardinal.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I've heard it said that if you don't get along with the manager in St. Louis you can't play. That's ridiculous. If you get on Tony's bad side you're out of here. That's wrong."

- Manager Tony La Russa, after the trade of CF Colby Rasmus.





RF Lance Berkman (strained right shoulder) was inserted in the lineup July 26 when LF Matt Holliday was a late scratch, but then Berkman had to leave the game in the fourth inning when his injury continued to bother him. He was still out of the lineup July 27.

LF Matt Holliday (stomach flu) was a late scratch July 26 but was back in the lineup July 27.

RHP Kyle Lohse (inflamed middle right finger) left the team July 21 to have an exam in St. Louis. He threw a side session July 22 and made his start July 24 at Pittsburgh.

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 but had renewed soreness soon after and was shut down until late August or early September.

OF Allen Craig (broken right kneecap) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 8. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Memphis on July 23, and he figures to return after Aug. 1.

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.


Thu., July 28 vs. ASTROS: Jaime Garcia (10-4, 3.01) vs. Wandy Rodriguez (6-7, 3.60) 7:15 p.m. (FOX Sports Midwest, KMOX Radio and Cardinals Radio Network).


<a href='' target='_new' title='La Russa reacts to 4-2 defeat'>Video: La Russa reacts to 4-2 defeat</a>
Tony TV: Cardinals manager Tony La Russa offers his thoughts on Wednesday's loss to the Astros.

<a href='' target='_new' title='Carpenter on loss, Jackson talks trade'>Video: Carpenter on loss, Jackson talks trade</a>
Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter analyzes his performance while Edwin Jackson discusses his trade.

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