Safety First - Looper Hit by Errant Throw

Just as Braden Looper was beginning his warm up tosses in preparation for his bullpen sidework Wednesday morning, the Cardinals potential #5 starter was struck by a wild throw from outfielder Chris Duncan during the pregame fungos.

The Cardinals, trying to patch several holes in their 2007 starting rotation, almost had another one to fill this morning, when a wild throw from the outfield ricocheted off of Braden Looper's right leg.

Looper, working to make the transition from reliever to starter did not allow a run while pitching a career-high 4 2/3 innings on Monday, finishing with three strikeouts and no walks.

Only four active pitchers have appeared in more major league games than Looper without making a start, but Looper's good control this spring has gone a long way towards strengthening his hold on the No. 5 starter's job for the Cardinals. Looper has been considered the front runner for the job by pitching coach Dave Duncan since December.

After taking a breather for a couple of minutes, Looper was able to walk it off and return to the mound. After his first four pitches, he appeared to return to form and was able to finish his sidework. He'll likely have a bruise for a day or two, but should be available for his next scheduled start on Saturday (03/17) facing the Atlanta Braves and John Smoltz.

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