The Redbird Report 08/14

The tension between right fielder Juan Encarnacion and manager Tony La Russa may come to a head before Tuesday night's game in Milwaukee.

La Russa, dissatisfied with Encarnacion's play lately, sat him out the last four games and played pitcher-turned-outfielder Rick Ankiel with considerable success.

Encarnacion said La Russa has been "kind of unprofessional, I think," in not communicating with Encarnacion better as to why he has not been playing.

"If he has anything to say, he can come find me and say it," said Encarnacion. "He doesn't have to say it behind my back."

La Russa, after hearing that Encarnacion say he had been playing with a sore left leg, arranged for Encarnacion to have an MRI on his knee.

"Whatever they think is best, I'm willing to do it," said Encarnacion, hitting .290. "I'm just a player here. If they want me to play, that's what I want. If they want me to go someplace else, that's what I'll do."

NOTES AND QUOTES

--LHP Mark Mulder, rehabilitating all season after his shoulder surgery last September, is slated to make his first minor league rehab start Thursday. The team had not announced which affiliate he would join.

--RHP Todd Wellemeyer, out more than five weeks with a sprained right elbow, is preparing for a rehab assignment. When Wellemeyer comes back, he probably will go back to the bullpen even though he had been starting when he got hurt.

--LF Chris Duncan hasn't homered in his last 40 games. "I have to figure out how to grind it out and get something going," Duncan said.

--Rookie INF Brendan Ryan had one homer in 323 Class AAA at-bats. He has three in 67 at-bats with the Cardinals. "No idea," Ryan said. "Better parks? The batter's eye is better? More locked in, maybe."

--The rotation's ERA for the last 11 games in 2.76, helping to lower the staff ERA for the season to 4.74.


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