The Cardinals Major League Notebook 06/25

Right-hander Brad Thompson, impressive as a fill-in starter in his first few tries, hasn't clinched a permanent spot just yet. After winning back-to-back interleague starts at Cleveland and Kansas City, Thompson was cuffed around Wednesday for eight hits and five runs in five innings by the Mets.

"It was just one of those games when I made my pitches, I got groundball outs," said Thompson (2-3), "and when I didn't, they were banging the ball around a little bit."

The Cardinals bullpen, a staple much of the season, wasn't very good, giving up six runs in three innings. However, some shoddy defense—two errors and a pitcher (Chris Perez) forgetting to cover first base—didn't help matters in the late innings.

"It went from a tough loss to a sloppy loss," manager Tony La Russa said. "That wasn't any fun."

The Cardinals had one real shot at Mets right-hander Fernando Nieve. Trailing 1-0 in the third, they loaded the bases on two hits and a walk, but Rick Ankiel struck out to end the inning.

For the second consecutive night, the entire Cardinals outfield went hitless. The four outfielders—Colby Rasmus, Chris Duncan, Ryan Ludwick and Ankiel—are a combined 0-for-23 in the two games.

Mets 11, Cardinals 0: Mustering just four hits, all singles, the Cardinals suffered their most lopsided loss of the season. Their ninth-place hitter, SS Brendan Ryan(notes), had two of the four hits, extending his hitting streak to eight games.

Notes, Quotes

• Cardinals coach Jose Oquendo, who managed the Puerto Rican club in the last two World Baseball Classics, will get another taste of the manager's chair. He'll be is in charge of the World team in the Futures game on July 12 as part of the All-Star Game festivities in St. Louis. His opponent in the dugout? None other than Cardinals Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith, who will manage the United States team. This will be Smith's first experience as a manager.

• President Obama has announced he will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the All-Star Game in St. Louis on July 14. Obama will be the fifth sitting president to perform the duty, with John F. Kennedy the first in 1962.

• 3B Troy Glaus, out all season after offseason right shoulder surgery, is beginning to hit off a pitching machine in Arizona, where he is working out, but his throwing hasn't come along quite as well. GM John Mozeliak, not optimistic about a Glaus comeback, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "If he's not able to play third, he'll be frustrated and it will be tough for us to find a place for him to play."

• UT Joe Mather's long season got longer. Mather, the starting third baseman for the Cardinals for a couple of weeks in spring training, has had to undergo a third wrist surgery in the last nine months. He is probably out for the rest of the season, having hit only .176 in 136 at-bats for the Cardinals' Class AAA Memphis affiliate.

Roster Report

• C Yadier Molina and RF Ryan Ludwick both got a night off Wednesday night. Molina was getting a rest before returning Thursday afternoon to catch RHP Chris Carpenter, and Ludwick was getting a breather to try to regroup. Ludwick has hit only .181 since coming off the disabled list four weeks ago, and manager Tony La Russa said, "He hasn't swung really well for the past few days. He'll play (Thursday)."

• 3B Khalil Greene, after an impressive start following his removal from the disabled list, has gone 0-for-10 over his past three games.

• Rookie CF Colby Rasmus is struggling even more. Since hitting safely in his first four at-bats Friday in Kansas City, Rasmus is 0-for-16, and he muffed a flyball Wednesday.

• Rookie INF Tyler Greene hasn't played much since the return of INF Khalil Greene. However, manager Tony La Russa, asked about possibly sending Tyler Greene back to Class AAA Memphis, said that "he's played just enough where he isn't regressing. All he has to do is hit. He does everything you want. If he hits OK, he'll be a plus. He's a good-looking shortstop."

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