Cardinals Major League Notebook: 08/17/10

Kyle Lohse pitching well would enable the Cardinals to rest their rotation for the final month.



With two off days this week, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan have devised a plan where each of the club's five starters will pitch on six days' rest. That will be the last real break any of them likely will get, because the Cardinals, if they make up a rainout Sept. 20 in Florida, will play on 44 of the last 45 days of the season.

Included in this mix is right-hander Kyle Lohse, who had an unimpressive return to the rotation Sunday after spending nearly three months on the disabled list with a forearm problem that required surgery. Lohse was tagged for seven runs and six in three innings against Chicago Sunday as he suffered his fifth loss in six decisions.

Lohse said he felt all right and he seemed to have velocity, so there is no reason why the Cardinals shouldn't give him another chance this Sunday against San Francisco. But Lohse will need to show some marked improvement to merit a third start because La Russa and Duncan can't afford the luxury of a tryout camp in the middle of a hot divisional race with Cincinnati.

"I don't know what the plan is," said Lohse. "Obviously, you've got to go with the guys who are going good right now as often as possible."

The other options, if Lohse has another bad start or two, are right-hander Jeff Suppan (groin strain), who should be ready soon to come off the disabled list soon, and right-hander Blake Hawksworth, who was in the rotation but then moved out of it when right-hander Jake Westbrook came from Cleveland.

Hawksworth had an impressive three-inning relief stint on Sunday.


The Cardinals came to terms late Monday night with their first-round choice in the June draft, Arkansas third baseman Zack Cox, and their second-round choice, Jordan Swagerty, a reliever from Arizona State. Impressive California high school outfielder Austin Wilson, a 12th-round choice who went that late in the draft because it appeared he was headed to Stanford, did not sign.

OF Allen Craig didn't have a chance until the ninth inning in his big-league debut at third base on Sunday and then booted a hard one-hopper. Craig was giving Felipe Lopez a day off and it isn't clear how much more Craig, who used to pay third base in the minors, would be seen at that position. "It's not really good for our club if he has to do it," said manager Tony La Russa.

The Cardinals still are in search of a veteran third baseman, now that David Freese (right ankle surgery) is out for the season. Brandon Inge of Detroit's name has come up in the Cardinals' inner circles.

RHP Adam Wainwright, who will pitch on Wednesday, should have 10 more starts to get the three wins he needs for 20. Wainwright, who will face Milwaukee, missed out on his 20th win on the last Friday of the 2009 season when he and the bullpen couldn't hold a 6-0 lead against the Brewers.

The Cardinals are back at 12 pitchers but that doesn't mean they will stay at that level. RHP Jason Motte is eligible to come off the disabled list this weekend and the team may go back to 13 for the remainder of the month, until rosters can be expanded on Sept. 1.

By the Numbers:

30, 10 - When 1B Albert Pujols hit his 30th homer on Sunday, it marked the 10th straight year that Pujols had reached that figure. He has played only 10 seasons.


Quote to Note:


"I don't know how long he has to play to be one of the greatest who's ever played this game. He's certainly going to be in the conversation. He is for the first 10 years."


- Manager Tony La Russa, on star 1B Albert Pujols.




Medical Watch:

CF Colby Rasmus (leg cramp) left the Aug. 15 game and 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. Lohse began a minor league rehab assignment July 26, and he made his final rehab start Aug. 10 for Class AAA Memphis. He was activated to start for the Cardinals on Aug. 15.

C Jason LaRue (mild concussion, bruised ribs) was hurt during a skirmish in the Aug. 10 game. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 13.

RHP Jeff Suppan (sore right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 1.

RHP Jason Motte (AC sprain in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 3. He hopes to return as soon as he's eligible.

SS Tyler Greene (bruised right hand) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 1. Greene was struck by a pitch July 17, and the injury was still bothering him.

RHP Adam Ottavino (right shoulder strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 4. He won't need surgery, but he is probably out for the year.

3B David Freese (bone bruise on right ankle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 28. He also broke his left big toe in mid-July. He tore a right ankle tendon Aug. 2 in his first rehab game with Class AA Springfield, and he had season-ending surgery Aug. 6.

RHP Brad Penny (strained upper back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 22. He threw bullpen sessions June 28 and July 1 but had to cut short a bullpen session July 6 because of tightness in his triceps area. He underwent an MRI on July 7, which found nothing that hadn't been diagnosed before. As of Aug. 5, he was playing catch but not throwing off a mound. Penny is out indefinitely.

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