As the Cardinals try to figure out their postseason roster, infielder Khalil Greene, the club's starting shortstop and cleanup hitter on opening day, must be wondering exactly what's in store for him.
Sunday, when manager Tony La Russa rolled out a makeshift lineup because of injury and illness, Greene wasn't in it but September call-up David Freese was, playing third base. Freese had been playing regularly and hitting well at Class AAA Memphis, La Russa said.
"He's had it going while Khalil hasn't been playing as regularly. I would say his best role for us will continue to be coming off the bench," said La Russa.
Greene, who has had two tenures on the disabled list as he has coped with a social anxiety disorder, has had just 36 at-bats (eight hits) since returning Aug. 1 from his second stay on the DL. "I'm just trying to keep myself ready for however I may be used," said Greene. "There's not much else to say."
Freese also started the season with the Cardinals before being sent back to Memphis and then having ankle surgery to take care of an injury suffered in a January auto accident in his native St. Louis. Freese technically isn't eligible for the playoffs unless somebody is disabled, such as third baseman Troy Glaus.
Glaus has had just 17 at-bats for
the Cardinals, the result mostly of a slow recovery from January right shoulder
although he also has had back issues and now a strained left oblique. According
to La Russa, Glaus could resurface for the team's final road series beginning
"He has a chance to be there. He's been doing a lot of treatment," La Russa said. "I've been told he's been doing stuff all weekend, and that means there's a chance. He's pushing to do more things."
Glaus hasn't played since Sept. 12, when he hurt himself trying to check his swing. The Cardinals previously held out hope Glaus could serve as a right-handed bat off the bench in the postseason.
Notes and Quotes
--C Yadier Molina was joined in
injury dry dock Sunday by SS Brendan Ryan, who had to come out of the game in
the fourth inning after having his right index finger nicked by a pitch while he
was trying to bunt. Molina had to exit the previous night's game when a bunt
--LF Matt Holliday was sick with the flu, so manager Tony La Russa started an odd outfield configuration Sunday against Colorado LHP Jorge De La Rosa. They were all right-handed hitters, but only Ryan Ludwick really had played much outfield this year. Ludwick was moved from right field to left. Mark DeRosa, who has played outfield in the past, went from third base to right field, and INF Tyler Greene played center field (for three innings) for the first time since high school. La Russa kept left-handed-hitting OFs Colby Rasmus and Rick Ankiel on the bench at the start of the game because La Russa said, "I don't think we're competitive against (De La Rosa) if one of our left-handed hitters has to play center field."
--3B David Freese, a St. Louisan who opened the season on the roster, got his first start Sunday since being brought back from Class AAA Memphis. He fanned twice and had an infield hit in four at-bats.
--RHP Adam Wainwright's sturdy, 130-pitch effort over eight innings Saturday -- he stranded two runners in his last inning -- netted him his 19th win as the Cardinals clinched the NL Central title but also the admiration of his teammates. "If that game didn't win Adam the Cy Young Award," RHP Chris Carpenter said, "then I want to know who's voting."
Carpenter (16-4) is in the running for the Cy Young Award, too, but it sounded as if he were conceding to Wainwright (19-8). Both have one start remaining before they go into the playoffs, with Wainwright likely to pitch Game 2 in the postseason and Carpenter Game 1. Even manager Tony La Russa said, "He may have won the (Cy Young) award in that eighth inning."
--1B Albert Pujols has set the
National League record for assists in a season with 183. The former record was
180 by the Cubs' Mark Grace in 1990. Pujols stands just one behind
BY THE NUMBERS: 37-18 -- Cardinals' record in the first 55 games LF Matt Holliday played for them.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I nit-pick. But I feel the progress I'm making is pretty darn good." -- RHP John Smoltz, after his sixth of six straight good starts for the Cardinals.
--LF Matt Holliday, who came out in the eighth inning of Saturday's division-clinching game in Colorado and missed Sunday's game with a cold and the flu, should be ready to play Tuesday. Holliday said he actually could have played on Sunday "if it was the playoffs."
--C Yadier Molina is hopeful of returning to action in the three-game series against the Reds but admits he doubts it will happen in Tuesday's opener. Molina was hit on the left knee by a fouled bunt attempt on Saturday night and suffered significant swelling on the knee.
--RHP Joel Pineiro can tie his
season high in victories at 16 when he faces the Reds on Tuesday night. Pineiro,
15-11 this year, was 16-11 for
--RHP John Smoltz probably will get his last regular-season start Wednesday in Cincinnati as he continues his bid to be in the four-man postseason rotation.
--C Matt Pagnozzi figures to see some playing time before the season is over. Pagnozzi, a rookie, is the nephew of former Cardinals Gold Glove C Tom Pagnozzi.
LF Matt Holliday (flu) did not play Sept. 27 but expects to return Sept. 29.
SS Brendan Ryan (bruised right index finger) left the Sept. 27 game.
C Yadier Molina (sore left knee) left the Sept. 26 game, and he didn't play Sept. 27. He is day-to-day.
3B Troy Glaus (pulled left oblique muscle) has not played since Sept. 12. He is out indefinitely.