Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/19/09

Mitchell Boggs may have made his last start for the Cardinals in a 7-3 loss to the Dodgers in Los Angeles Tuesday night.

INSIDE PITCH

 

Rookie right-hander Mitchell Boggs might have lost his tenuous hold on the fifth starter's job in the Cardinals' rotation.

 

Boggs, though pitching near the strike zone better than he had in his previous start, nonetheless allowed nine hits and five runs in four innings Tuesday. He almost certainly will find himself back at Class AAA Memphis if the Cardinals sign 42-year-old veteran John Smoltz, as is strongly rumored.

 

Smoltz, who wants to start, probably will be granted his wish by the Cardinals—at least for a while—and the next time this spot in the rotation comes around is Sunday in San Diego.

 

The Cardinals could sign Smoltz, released by Boston, once he clears waivers Wednesday. They would have to pay him only about one-fourth the minimum salary the rest of the season, approximately $100,000.

 

The club probably needs as much or more help in its right-handed bullpen in the late innings, but with right-hander Todd Wellemeyer on the disabled list, Boggs struggling and right-hander Kyle Lohse having experienced arm fatigue in his last start, Smoltz might help on a short-term basis as a starter.

 

Boggs (1-2) threw a combined 42 pitches in the first two innings on Tuesday although he wasn't scored on until the fourth. But he said having to throw that many pitches early is "not a recipe for success. These guys know what they're doing. They get to see me throw too many pitches. … and they're going to do some damage.

 

"I've got to do a lot better. There's no doubt about it."

 

Smoltz was 2-5 as a starter with the Red Sox after recovering from last year's shoulder surgery.

 

Dodgers 7, Cardinals 3:   The Cardinals' winning streak was snapped at five after they spotted the Dodgers a 5-0 lead after five innings. PH Joe Thurston's double led to two runs in the sixth for the Cardinals, and 3B Khalil Greene, making a rare start, knocked in a run with a single in the seventh.

 

NOTES, QUOTES

 

• For only the second time in the more than three weeks that LF Matt Holliday has been with the Cardinals, he and 1B Albert Pujols were held hitless in the same game Tuesday. The other time came on Aug. 2 against Houston. Pujols had a hitting streak snapped at 12 games. Holliday's 19-game hitting streak against the Dodgers came to an end.

 

• The Cardinals went well over the commissioner's office suggested scale of $1.6 million when they gave Brownwood, Texas, RHP Shelby Miller, a high schooler, a $2.875 million bonus to sign as the 19th selection in the June draft. "This speaks how highly we value him as a prospect," said club chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. A few weeks back, the Cardinals invested $3.1 million in 16-year-old OF Wilson Mateo, a Dominican Republic free agent.

 

• While the Cardinals were investing in the future, they also were kicking the tires for the present. They have inquired about RHP John Smoltz, released by Boston, but have more interest in him as a reliever than a starter, which Smoltz was doing for Boston, where he was 2-5. General manager John Mozeliak said, "We're looking at a number of options for our bullpen right now. It's fair to say he's someone we have legitimate interest in." Manager Tony La Russa, echoing that sentiment, said, "We have (been interested) since the day he was designated (for assignment)."

 

By The Numbers:   7—Number of stolen bases this season, through August 16, for C Yadier Molina, matching his seven-year total for both the minor leagues and major leagues.

 

Quote To Note:   "You get the breeze. The old park would trap all that hot air. It was like being around the media all the time."—Manager Tony La Russa, talking about the comfort level of playing in new Busch Stadium in the summertime.

 

ROSTER REPORT

 

• OF Rick Ankiel had a tough time tracking several balls in the outfield. Rookie Colby Rasmus had been scheduled to start in center field on Tuesday but reported to the park with a cold and sore throat.

 

• RHP Kyle Lohse, who had to come out of his last start with arm fatigue in the sixth inning, threw a bullpen session without pain on Tuesday, but pitching coach Dave Duncan still thinks Lohse's mechanics are an issue. Lohse is supposed to start Friday at San Diego.

 

• RHP Mitchell Boggs gave up nine hits in four-plus innings, but manager Tony La Russa said some of the hits were simply groundballs that just got through the infield. "I think his (pitching) line is a little misleading," said La Russa. "He pitched better than the line." But La Russa also said of Boggs, "He fights his location. He's got to improve his consistency."

 

• RHP Adam Wainwright will bid to become the majors' first 15-game winner when he goes against Los Angeles LHP Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday night.


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