Cards Notebook 08/29/10: Rasmus to Return?

Will Colby Rasmus return from the disabled list to give the Cardinals a much-needed spark?

Outfielder Colby Rasmus went through a series of running tests before the Cardinals' 14-5 loss to the Washington Nationals Saturday night and baring a setback will make much-needed return to the lineup for the series finale on Sunday.

Rasmus wasn't in the starting lineup for an 11th straight game Saturday with a strained right calf. He originally injured the calf while running the bases on Aug 15 and had hoped to return a few games later but hasn't played since making two pinch-hit appearances on Aug 17 and 18.

"After running today, I got on the bases and turned it up a little bit, I'm hoping with no setbacks tonight or tomorrow morning I plan on being in there tomorrow," Rasmus told Fox Sports Midwest's Pat Parris on Saturday.

"It's been tough. I don't like sitting out and not being able to help the team with the unfortunate timing of it, but being able to be back, hopefully I can get back in there and be back for the rest of the year and things will work out for the best for the team."

The second-year outfielder is hitting .269 with 19 home runs and 54 RBIs this season. The Cardinals are 4-7 in eleven games without him in the starting lineup. With Ryan Ludwick traded to the Padres and David Freese out for the season with an ankle injury, the Cardinals could use another weapon to help their inconsistent offense.

Cardinals' catcher Yadier Molina, who missed the last two games with soreness in his right knee, will return to start the series finale on Sunday. Adam Wainwright will start for the Cardinals as they look to salvage a split against the Nationals.

Pujols dealing with Triple Crown hype

Albert Pujols knows the easiest way to answer questions regarding his quest for the Triple Crown.

"Don't answer them," Pujols joked to Mike Shannon on the Fox Sports Midwest pregame show.

Pujols is attempting to become the first player since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win the Triple Crown. The slugger leads the National League in home runs with 35 and RBIs with 94.  He ranks second in the league in batting average at .320.

No National League player has won the Triple Crown (finish the year leading the league in home runs, RBIs and batting average) since Joe Medwick did it with the Cardinals in 1937.

"It hasn't been done in 68 or 73 years or something like that," Pujols said. "It's just hard because you have so much talent, hitters and pitchers. It's not easy. It's not like they are going to say here hit the ball and throw it down the middle so you can hit it. You have to earn your hits, plus right now when you play clubs that have the opportunity to be in the postseason, they will pitch you even tougher.

"That would be pretty special but it would be more special if I end up with the opportunity to win the Triple Crown and have my ballclub in the postseason too. That would be a special year. I'll trade the postseason for the Triple Crown in a heartbeat."

Lohse struggles again in loss to Nationals

Looking to win consecutive starts for the first time in more than a year, Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse instead had his second rough outing in three games since returning from forearm surgery.

Lohse allowed eight runs in five innings Saturday night and took the loss in the Cardinals' 14-5 defeat by the Washington Nationals.

Nine of the 11 hits allowed by the right-hander came with two outs, including a three-run home run by Adam Dunn with two outs and a full count in the fifth inning.

"He had problems getting the last out," manager Tony La Russa told reporters. "They all came with two outs. He had problems finishing off the inning. He got two outs, but had problems getting the third out, and that's where he paid and we paid."

Lohse dropped to 2-7 with a 7.12 ERA in 12 starts this season.  He has two years remaining on a 4-year, $41 million contract signed in the fall of 2008.

"Stupid pitches, catching too much plate when I would be ahead of guys, and you just can't do that," Lohse told reporters. "A lot of balls, I was trying to go in on a lefty and they would just catch too much plate. That ball to Dunn, it just ran right back inner-third. Stupid things like that will cost your team a chance to win.

"It's bad. Bad results. Bad pitches."

Rotation altered for upcoming series with Reds

The Cardinals will activate pitcher Jeff Suppan from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday and start him against the Houston Astros.

Starting Suppan will allow the Cardinals to push rookie Jaime Garcia back two days to pitch the series opener against the rival Reds at Busch Stadium on Friday Sept 3. In addition to giving Garcia two days of rest, the move allows Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright extra rest before they start on Saturday and Sunday.

Carpenter will start Saturday and Wainwright on Sunday, meaning the Cardinals will send the same three pitchers to the mound that they did when they swept the Reds in Cincinnati in early August.

Jake Westbrook was scheduled to appear in the series with Carpenter and Wainwright but will instead be pushed back to Sept. 6 in Milwaukee.



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