The slumping Cardinals filled their need for a veteran third baseman Thursday by acquiring Pedro Feliz from the Houston Astros for minor league pitcher David Carpenter.
Feliz, 35, is hitting only .221 this season in sporadic playing time during his first season with the Astros after two years in Philadelphia, where he started on both of the Phillies' World Series teams. The Cardinals needed a replacement for Felipe Lopez, who has had to play third base more than anybody wanted and has gone 7 for his last 51. The club really didn't have an adequate backup for Lopez, whose play in the field lately has been sketchy.
Third base probably wouldn't have been a problem spot if David Freese, the regular for the first half of the season, had been able to recover from a right ankle injury. Instead, he hurt the ankle even worse and had to undergo surgery that makes suspect his availability for the start of next season.
The Cardinals need offensive help at the position, but general manager Mozeliak seemed more intent on upgrading defensively.
"Ideally, now we can use somebody who will help us defensively so we're not reliant on playing one person all of the time," Mozeliak said before the Feliz trade. "We're just trying to make sure we're addressing what's most important -- and that's to try to get help."
Feliz is considered an above-average defender and has a .969 fielding percentage for his career.
To make room for Feliz on the 40-man roster, catcher Jason LaRue was moved from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list, ending his season. LaRue suffered a concussion in the brawl with the Cincinnati Reds last week.
NOTES AND QUOTES
INF Tyler Greene, healing from a bruised right hand, is at Class AAA Memphis on an option. In several trials with the Cardinals over the last two seasons, Greene has shown power and speed but has been inconsistent in the field and often has been overmatched at bat. Though Greene has played third base, his better positions are shortstop and second base.
The Cardinals have scored no more than two runs through eight innings in their last four games—all losses—and in three of the games, they ended up with two. They have lost three 3-2 decisions in the last four games and LF Matt Holliday said, "It doesn't matter how good our pitching has been, we've got to score."
C Yadier Molina has made 21 straight starts. It's possible that rookie Bryan Anderson, just recalled from Class AAA Memphis, will get a start this weekend against San Francisco as the Cardinals embark in a season-closing stretch of 44 games in 45 days, if a rainout in Florida is made up on Sept. 20.
CF Colby Rasmus, who thought he would be out four games with a strained right calf, pinch-hit in the first two, flying out once and walking once. Manager Tony La Russa probably hopes Rasmus would be ready to face Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum on Saturday night.
3B Zack Cox, the Cardinals' top draft pick, might not play in any games in the Gulf Coast League, where he has been assigned. Cox, who signed for a guarantee of $3.2 million over four years, is scheduled to play in the Arizona Fall League, which begins in October.
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.
CF Colby Rasmus (leg
cramp) left the Aug. 15 game. He pinch-hit Aug. 17 and 18, but he probably won't
play in the field until sometime during the Aug. 20-22 series against
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 and still has post-concussion symptoms. He was moved to the 60-day disabled list on Aug. 19, ending his season.
RHP Jeff Suppan (sore right groin) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 1. He threw a three-inning simulated game Aug. 17 and said he felt no pain.
RHP Jason Motte (AC sprain in right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 3. He hoped to return as soon as he's eligible Aug. 18, but that won't happen. He threw about 10 pitches off the bullpen mound Aug. 17.
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. He came off the DL Aug. 17 and was optioned to Class AAA Memphis.
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. He was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list on Aug. 17, ending his season.
3B David Freese (right ankle surgery) 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.