Relieved St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Troy Glaus reported his Tuesday MRI found no structural damage. He received a second cortisone injection into his bursa sac area to address what he called a rotator cuff strain with associated tendinitis.
The 32-year-old, who had played in 139 of the Cardinals' 144 games so far this season said doctors will re-evaluate his shoulder in 48-72 hours. If there is enough improvement, then Glaus said he will strengthen it and return to the lineup.
La Russa made it clear that minor league third baseman David Freese, not yet on the club's 40-man roster, was not being considered for a call-up, also noting that Brendan Ryan can man third if need be.
When reminded of Freese's power potential, La Russa snapped back. "Who has the better chance for a base hit?"
Outfielder Rick Ankiel is not in the St. Louis Cardinals lineup on Wednesday and may not be for the duration, either. His manager said "I am not sure how much more Ankiel is going to play (for the remainder of the season). He's not getting better. We're going to get him checked."
Later, the club announced that "he will be examined later this week to get a second opinion which will be used in determining a treatment plan."
Sidelined by an abdominal strain that some fear could be a sports hernia, Ankiel is going to be limited to a pinch-hit, defensive replacement role, said La Russa. Felipe Lopez, also backing up Glaus at third base, was mentioned by the manager as a likely left field replacement. Josh Phelps is starting in left and batting sixth on Wednesday.
Since August 1, Ankiel is hitting just 11-for-65 (.169).
After Wednesday's game, Ankiel commented that "it is tough to run. I can't generate power."
Barton: Active, but not really
Though activated on Tuesday from the disabled list, outfielder Brian Barton isn't going to be getting any of Ankiel's starts in left field. His manager said, "Right now, he is just running. He can play defense if he has to." Not exactly promising.
Mather: Cast on
Outfielder Joe Mather is with the club at Busch, but plans to head home to rehab his left wrist following his recent hamate bone surgery. Unable to do much of anything, Mather headed for the outfield to shag flies with his one good hand.
Though there is no firm timetable for his recovery, Mather is holding out some hope that he could play winter ball, maybe in the second half of the season. Colombia and Mexico were discussed as possibilities, though nothing is certain.
Rasmus: Don't look for him
Given the problems of Ankiel, Barton and Mather, someone had to ask La Russa about Colby Rasmus to provide outfield depth. La Russa's reply is consistent if nothing else. "You mean the guy who hasn't played? What would be the good of that? We've got guys here that can play," explained the skipper. Next question, please!
Carpenter: Not right
Having pitched only once in game action since returning from his latest setback, Chris Carpenter is again listed as unavailable for Wednesday night's game. La Russa said, "We're checking all the time (on Carpenter's status)."
La Russa's recent remarks about Carp being the closer for one game per series seem more remote each passing day. More diagnostic tests are scheduled on Thursday.
Another forgotten man among the recent roster additions is reliever Josh Kinney. I asked La Russa if we might see Kinney soon. His reply, delivered with a wide grin: "I thought about him a couple of times and I told him that." Apparently, Kinney is nearing his first action since 2006.
Ryan: Or is that Skip?
I was chatting with Brendan Ryan in the clubhouse on Tuesday as he was preparing to head onto the field for warmups. As he exited, I could hear Skip Schumaker, whose stall is next to Ryan's calling out for him, but Ryan apparently missed it.
Turns out Ryan put on the warmup jersey on his right, Schumaker's, instead of the one on his left, his own.
Several moments later, Ryan re-appeared, asking all within earshot, "Why didn't you tell me?" The Ryan legend continues…
Duncan: Golf DH?
Spoke with rehabbing outfielder Chris Duncan, who was very upbeat. He says he is feeling good and lifting progressively more. As Duncan is out for the season and could not yet swing, he was unable to participate in Albert Pujols' golf tournament on Monday. I told him he could have been the designated chipper and putter.
Perez: Comfortable closer
Entering the clubhouse Wednesday, the first person I saw was closer Chris Perez, rocking in a lounge chair and reading a book. I told him that was an ideal pose for someone in his line of work. Perez is clearly more comfortable in his role, telling me, "I feel really good right now. I've made mistakes, but I feel like I can throw my slider for strikes anytime."
Molina: Winter ball plans undecided
Though Jose Oquendo will be managing Yadier Molina's hometown Carolina Gigantes (Giants) in the Puerto Rican League this winter, the catcher told me he has not yet decided if he is going to suit up this year. With the World Baseball Classic following, it could be another long winter for several of the Cardinals.
I ran into Oquendo in the hallway about 90 minutes before the game and asked him when his Carolina roster would be set. He waved some papers in my direction, saying "I am working on that now." He told me that Yadi and Geovany Soto are both on his roster, but he doesn't know yet if either are going to play. How about those two as your catchers?
That is how La Russa characterized infielder Brian Barden, hit by a pitch on the hand during Tuesday's ninth inning. Barden took batting practice and is listed on the line-up card as available after his x-rays showed no break.
When told that Barden, angry over feeling that Carlos Marmol threw at him on purpose, made reference to possible retaliation, La Russa would have none of it. "Tell him to shut up," the manager said, only slightly jokingly.
Memphis: Optimism on PDA
Memphis broadcasters Steve Selby and Charlie Lea were on the field before the game. I asked Selby his take on the chances of the Cardinals and Redbirds re-upping their Player Development Agreement. Selby thinks the deal will get done. Of course, it takes two to tango.
Pujols: Nothing has changed today
I included that just because everyone seems fixated on the most recent flare-up of the Pujols elbow surgery non-story.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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