The Redbird Report - 04/30

The Cardinals had been having enough trouble on the field, slogging through their first 23 games with a 10-13 mark, but that was nothing compared to the tragic news they received Sunday.

Reliever Josh Hancock, in his second season with the club, was killed in an accident when his 2007 Ford Explorer hit a stationary tow truck on a St. Louis highway.

For those players and staff who were with the team in 2002, this was a second jolt of sudden death. Five years ago, right-hander Darryl Kile died in his sleep in his hotel room in Chicago.

Hancock had been a valuable member of the Cardinals staff on the World Series champion club of 2006, pitching mostly in long relief. He had three wins and one save and pitched 77 innings over 62 games, holding opposing hitters to a .241 average. This year, he had an 0-1 mark and 3.55 ERA through 12 2/3 innings.

It was not immediately known how the Cardinals would replace Hancock, who had helped a struggling staff by twice pitching three innings of relief in a five-day span.

Right-hander Kip Wells, who was to have started on Sunday night in a game that was postponed by the tragedy, is likely to be moved to Monday to start a series in Milwaukee. Hancock probably would have been part of a "bullpen start" on Tuesday in Milwaukee, but right-hander Braden Looper, who had been Monday's scheduled starter, is expected to make that start.

NOTES AND QUOTES

--No makeup date for the Cardinals-Cubs game scheduled for Sunday night was announced.

--The Cardinals family is planning to go to Tupelo, Miss., en masse on Thursday for funeral services for RHP Josh Hancock, who just turned 29 a couple of weeks ago.

--The Cardinals are 35-48 over their last 83 regular-season games dating to last July.

--Through their first 12 games at home, the Cardinals have led after only 17 of 108 innings. They lost nine of those games. They didn't lose their ninth game at home last year until June 2.

--LHP Mark Mulder, who is on the 15-day disabled list, returned to Jupiter, Fla., after spending a week in St. Louis being examined and working out. Mulder, who had shoulder surgery in September, said, "I have good days and I have bad days." He isn't expected back until July. >

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- Number of games the Cardinals have won when they've allowed more than three runs.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "He was a very strong part of the (Cardinals) family at the ballpark and away from the ballpark." -- Manager Tony La Russa on the late Josh Hancock, who died early Sunday in an auto accident.

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