Rolen missed Wednesday's 7-0 loss to Houston and will be out Thursday also before at least a couple of doctors will look at him.
It isn't out of the realm of possibility that Rolen, hitting .265 with eight homers and 58 RBIs, has started his last game this season. He had planned to have surgery after the season but may not be able to wait.
Trainer Barry Weinberg said that Rolen had been compensating for his shoulder and has irritated other parts of his body. And manager Tony La Russa said he had noticed Rolen having trouble throwing, let alone swinging with his customary gusto.
La Russa had seen Rolen having more difficulty Tuesday than he had been. He asked Rolen if the latter wanted his last at-bat in the ninth inning, and Rolen declined, something he never had done before.
"He was right. I was hurting," said Rolen, who was 1-for-4 with a run batted in. "I couldn't wait till I got out of the game.
"I needed to come out of the game. It wasn't that I wanted to come out of the game."
Weinberg said, "Ultimately, inevitably, it will have to be corrected.
"At one point, it was a situation where he had to run with the ball until somebody tackled him. Well, last night, somebody tackled him."
"That's absolutely correct," Rolen said. "I went from a situation where I was limited to one where I was injured and hurt.
"I'm injured and I'm hurting. I'm pretty much down to the end of the (candle) wick."
ASTROS 7, CARDINALS 0: Right-hander Kip Wells took over the National League lead in losses again at 15 as he allowed five runs in six innings Wednesday. Wells was ahead in the count both times when he surrendered home runs to Houston's Lance Berkman and Luke Scott. The Cardinals remained two games behind the Chicago Cubs in the National League Central Division but dropped to third place behind Milwaukee.
NOTES AND QUOTES
--OF Rick Ankiel had two hits for his second consecutive multi-hit game, raising his average to .321. --CF Jim Edmonds made a highlight-reel catch off Houston LF Carlos Lee but bruised his left wrist when he landed on the rock surface of the warning track. He may not play in Thursday's series finale.
--Manager Tony La Russa was ejected by plate umpire Tim Tschida in the ninth inning for arguing balls and strikes. It was his third dismissal of the season.
--LHP Randy Flores was scored on for the third time in his last four outings, giving up two runs in the eighth inning. His ERA increased to 4.87.
--The Cardinals suffered their 11th shutout defeat. They have pitched seven shutouts.