Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/04/10

The Cardinals need to continue to depend on rookie starting pitchers Adam Ottavino, who starts on Saturday against Milwaukee on national television, and P.J. Walters.



Uncertain of when veteran right-hander Brad Penny will return from a strained muscle in his upper back, the Cardinals, for probably the next couple of weeks or so, are forced to use a combination of rookies P.J. Walters and Adam Ottavino to take up the slack for Penny and right-hander Kyle Lohse, whom they suspect will be out for several months after forearm surgery.

After Adam Wainwright starts Friday night for the Cardinals, Ottavino and Jaime Garcia, a more advanced rookie, will get the nationally televised Saturday and Sunday assignments against Milwaukee.

Walters, who was cuffed around Tuesday by Cincinnati, would be scheduled to start Monday in Los Angeles, although manager Tony La Russa wasn't necessarily ready to commit to that, saying that Walters might be needed in the bullpen this weekend.

"He's still trying to make his mark," La Russa said. "He had a good one in San Diego and not a good one (Tuesday). You try to evaluate every time out there."

Walters worked five scoreless innings in his first start of the season in San Diego on May 27 but surrendered three home runs and seven runs in four innings against Cincinnati on Tuesday. Ottavino pitched three scoreless innings in Chicago on May 29 but got in trouble later on with some of his six walks and exited in the sixth, having given up four runs.


RHP Jason Motte, throwing mostly fastballs and eschewing his slider, has reeled off eight scoreless outings. He's also not allowed any of eight inherited runners to score for the season. In 20 2/3 innings, Motte has fanned 23 and walked only five (one intentionally).

Although the Cardinals' offense has been more productive with Felipe Lopez batting leadoff and playing mostly shortstop, Brendan Ryan has started four straight winning games for the Cardinals. With a double and a triple Wednesday, the slick-fielding Ryan has raised his average to .211, which is his highest since Opening Day.

RHP Ryan Franklin has walked just one batter this year. He has fanned 13 and, with 10 saves in 11 tries, hardly has been the question mark he was perceived to be in the offseason and through much of a poor spring.

The Cardinals had an off day Thursday and will have one off day in each of the next three weeks, and in four out of five weeks, before the All-Star break.

By the end of the first half of the season, the Cardinals will have played the Cubs only three times while engaging divisional rival Cincinnati 12 times and Milwaukee 10 times. St. Louis will have played Houston nine times and Pittsburgh only three games. After the break, the Cardinals will have a challenging 11-game stretch with four games each at home against Los Angeles and Philadelphia and three at Chicago.

By the Numbers:

34-Consecutive games (he played every inning) before rookie 3B David Freese was rested May 28.

Quote to Note:

"That's why those guys scout and I'm playing."

-1B Albert Pujols, referring to those baseball people who had sounded off on what had happened to Pujols' extra-base pop. Pujols hit three homers in a game for the fourth time in his career May 30.




Medical Watch:


SS Felipe Lopez (swollen right thumb) left the June 1 game. He did not play June 2, but he should return to action June 4.

RHP Kyle Lohse (right forearm strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 23. He had surgery May 28 to alleviate muscle discomfort, and he is expected to be out until at least late July.

RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He might return mid June.

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