Cardinals Major League Notebook: 06/18/10

Brendan Ryan has earned his job back as the St. Louis Cardinals' everyday shortstop.



After three weeks of being in and out of the lineup, shortstop Brendan Ryan is back in for the Cardinals. Ryan started his sixth consecutive game Wednesday, and after raising his average to .220 (his highest since Opening Day), he went 0-for-2.

Even so, he should be back in the lineup Friday night against Oakland.

"He's played himself into (the lineup)," manager Tony La Russa said. "All he has to do is keep doing it."

Ryan, who went 6-for-20 over a five-game span to hike his average nearly 20 points, has settled into a more upright stance instead of the squat he had tried earlier.

"I put myself in this situation," said Ryan, who hit .292 last year. "I'm doing my (best) to earn that position back."

Lately, La Russa has been alternating Felipe Lopez and incumbent Skip Schumaker at second base. Neither has been hitting much. Lopez, who is not as good a defender as converted outfielder Schumaker, is down to .248 after going 3-for-23. Schumaker, a .300 hitter the last three seasons, is at .240.

La Russa had indicated that Lopez would continue to see time at third base, too, but rookie David Freese, after missing a week of starts with a sprained right ankle, has gone 5-for-8 in the last two games to raise his average to a team-high .318. He isn't likely to come out of the lineup too often.



The Cardinals, trying to take advantage of two off days, will employ a four-man rotation until they need a fifth starter during the June 25-27 series in Kansas City. With that in mind, RHP Jeff Suppan, who went four innings Tuesday in his first start since April 23, has been working with strength coach Pete Prinzi to increase his arm strength and stamina. Suppan had been working in relief before being released by Milwaukee on June 7.

In the first three days of manager Tony La Russa's experiment of having Matt Holliday hit second and Ryan Ludwick fourth, Holliday went 2-for-11, third-place hitter Albert Pujols 5-for-10 with a homer and Ludwick 3-for-11 with a homer and five RBI. If Holliday, who was moved because he has only 25 RBI in 66 games, doesn't pick it up a bit, this isn't likely to be a long-term move.

The Cardinals have played the A's at home just once in their history. In 2004, St. Louis swept a three-game series against Oakland.

RHP Shelby Miller, the Cardinals' top pick in last year's draft, has rejoined the rotation at Class A Quad Cities after spending some time in bullpen sessions working on off-speed pitches. Miller, who was impressive in spring training in a brief stint with the major league club, was 1-3 with a 5.12 ERA in his first 10 starts at Quad Cities this year.

RHP Chris Carpenter will seek his 125th career win in what could be his 200th decision when he faces Oakland on Friday night. Carpenter is 75-25 as a Cardinal after going 49-50 with Toronto.


By the Numbers:

0-Number of victories for the Cardinals in games started by top pitchers Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright on a recent road trip.

Quote to Note:

"I'm a big believer that at the end of the year our numbers will be there and we'll be as a team right where we want to be."

-1B Albert Pujols on his and LF Matt Holliday's lack of productivity.




Medical Watch:

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. He planned to begin playing catch June 21.

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 might be out until the All-Star break.

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