MLB Insiders - Rolen Struggling

Scott Rolen has given the Cardinals a strong season after missing much of last year with two shoulder surgeries. But as the team comes down the stretch, Rolen is wobbling.

Plagued by some soreness in his left shoulder -- Rolen says it is in a different spot -- he has seen his average dip to .299 for the first time since May 18 due to a 6-for-36 dive. He has driven in just one run this month and has only one extra-base hit in September.

"He's running into tough luck," manager Tony La Russa said. "He's making good contact and getting no hits. Guys go through that."

But trainer Barry Weinberg acknowledged that Rolen's shoulder was a concern. He said that the Cardinals were at a point where they could rest him and "address the pain" in the shoulder or play him and risk it getting worse.

Rolen has 19 homers and 82 RBIs -- both second to Albert Pujols on the team -- and also is second to Juan Encarnacion in games played at 128.

--SS David Eckstein, out a month with a strained left oblique muscle, is about ready to return. "My guess is sometime next week he'll be cleared," manager Tony La Russa said. "I know he's feeling better." He has been taking batting practice.

--CF Jim Edmonds, who has good days and bad days stemming from his bout with post-concussion syndrome, might make an appearance this weekend. He has been taking batting practice.

--RHP Jason Marquis' one-inning stint as Wednesday's starter was the shortest of his Cardinals career. The outing also didn't help his candidacy as the No. 3 starter in a potential playoff rotation. "It's out of my hands," Marquis said. "There's nothing I can do about it, whether I throw five no-hitters in a row or don't throw five no-hitters in a row."

--The Cardinals still are 14 homers in arrears at Busch Stadium (82-68) but they are one ahead on the road at 93-92.

--After winning 105 and 100 games the previous two seasons, the Cardinals are on pace for about 86 wins this season. They've never won so few games in a season in which they won the division.

BY THE NUMBERS: 84.7 -- Career percentage of saves converted by RHP Jason Isringhausen, even though he has blown 10 of 43 this season.

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