Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/11/10

The Cardinals prepare for the weekend in Arizona and the re-signing of a new-old pitcher, Jeff Suppan, released by Milwaukee.



Right-hander Jeff Suppan, who helped pitch the Cardinals to the 2006 World Series title, is headed back to the team after being released earlier this week by the Brewers.

Suppan has agreed to sign with the Cardinals for the pro-rated minimum, or just less than two-thirds of $400,000, with the Brewers responsible for the remainder of the $12.5 million Suppan will make this season in the last year of his four-year contract, plus a $2 million buyout on next year's club option. Scott Leventhal, Suppan's agent, said that Suppan would join the Cardinals in Arizona this weekend and hopes to be active next week.

The Cardinals have two injured starters: right-hander Kyle Lohse, who is on the 60-day disabled list after right forearm surgery, and right-hander Brad Penny, who has a strained muscle in his back that hasn't healed as quickly as the club had hoped.

Penny will be re-evaluated Friday by Dr. George Paletta, head of the Cardinals' medical staff, but Mozeliak said the possibility of Penny pitching in two weeks, as Mozeliak had hoped, "is looking more unlikely.

"If the question is asked, 'When he is going to pitch?' I would say, 'I don't know.' Hopefully, we'll know more (Friday)," Mozeliak said. "Clearly, we're looking for an arm. And we're looking for someone who can pitch sooner or later, and someone, in Soup's case, can do that.

"There are no strings attached, and you don't have to do a trade."

The Cardinals do, however, have to subtract somebody from their roster to make room for Suppan.

Suppan was 44-26 in three seasons with the Cardinals from 2004-06, when the club won three division titles, two pennants and one World Series.


While the rest of baseball is locked in interleague play this weekend, the Cardinals and Diamondbacks, the two extra NL teams, will meet for the second time this season in Phoenix. In the first series in April, the Cardinals won two of three games, with CF Colby Rasmus going 6-for-12 with two homers, a triple and a double. Rasmus, who missed the Dodgers series with a strained left calf, is likely to play at some point in this series.

LHP Jaime Garcia, who is scheduled to face the Diamondbacks on Friday, has made 11 consecutive starts in which he has allowed two earned runs or fewer. Only one of those starts lasted less than six innings, and in that one, Garcia pitched scoreless ball for five frames before departing.

The Cardinals already have lost eight games in which they have permitted two runs or fewer. They had only seven such losses all last year.

When the club returns home to face Seattle next Monday through Wednesday, there may be good news. Neither of the Mariners' aces, LHP Cliff Lee and RHP Felix Hernandez, is slated to pitch.

The Cardinals, as they did last year, have loaned Memphis OF Amaury Cazana to a team in the Mexican League. Cazana was hitting .302 with 30 RBI, but the Redbirds outfield had become crowded with the return of Joe Mather, Allen Craig and Jon Jay.

By the Numbers:

93-Number of at-bats between home runs at Busch Stadium for 1B Albert Pujols, who hit his second at home on June 5.

Quote to Note:

"He's facing a lot of lefthanders for the first time. In his career he'll be a tough out against lefthanded pitching."

-Manager Tony La Russa, on CF Colby Rasmus, who was starting to get hot against LHP after hitting under .170 against them for his career.




Medical Watch:

OF Colby Rasmus (sore left calf) suffered cramping during the June 6 game and was rested June 7-8. He appeared as a pinch hitter June 9.

3B David Freese (sprained right ankle) left the June 5 game, He hasn't started since though he has appeared as a pinch hitter. He might be ready to start June 11.

SS Brendan Ryan (bruised right hand) did not play June 9. He is day-to-day.

RHP Kyle Lohse (right forearm strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 23, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 5. He had surgery May 28 to alleviate muscle discomfort, and the timetable for his return was uncertain.

RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He tossed from a mound June 9 but did not throw on a downward plane. He will be re-examined June 14.

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