Cardinals Major League Notebook: 05/22/10

Brad Penny left Friday's win over the Angels due to injury just after hitting a grand slam. It was a pre-existing condition.

INSIDE PITCH

 

There was good news -- and potentially very bad news -- for right-hander Brad Penny and the Cardinals.

Penny, who had just two singles this season, clouted the first grand slam of his career in the third inning off former Cardinal Joel Pineiro of the Los Angeles Angels and those proved to be the winning runs in the Cardinals' 9-5 win. But Penny wasn't around to taste the fruits of victory.

As he warmed up before the fourth inning, Penny then felt he couldn't continue, having reinjured his upper back which had bothered him in his last start in Cincinnati, when he gave up 13 hits and seven runs in five innings. After conferring with manager Tony La Russa and assistant athletic trainer Greg Hauck, Penny came out with later was described as a strained right lat and likely is headed to the disabled list for possibly several weeks.

If Penny, who will be examined Saturday morning, doesn't go on the DL, right-handed reliever Blake Hawksworth probably will. Hawksworth is suffering from a recurrence of a groin injury which bothered him in spring training.

Right-hander P.J. Walters, who has an 0.48 earned run average for three starts at Class AAA Memphis, will be recalled, but who he replaces isn't immediately known.

"It was something I was trying to deal with between starts," Penny said. "I couldn't have pitched that last inning; there was no way. The first inning, I felt incredible. The second inning, I felt OK and (in) the third inning, I started feeling a little worse.

"I'm definitely worried. I'd like to find out."

Since the bullpen had to account for the final six innings, giving up just one run, somebody was needed before Saturday afternoon's interleague game against the Angels.

"I don't know the move," general manager John Mozeliak said of who Walters would replace. "We'll just see how things go."

CARDINALS 9, ANGELS 5: RHP Jason Motte, who has been throwing fastballs by a lot of hitters lately, fanned two in two perfect innings as the Cardinals' bullpen permitted just three hits and one run over the last six innings. The Cardinals have won four of their last five games after dropping nine of 12.

NOTES AND QUOTES

The first video replay of a home run at Busch Stadium came Friday when Felipe Lopez's drive to right was upheld. Lopez, whose homer was his third, has helped spark the Cardinals to four wins in five games since he came off the disabled list (strained right elbow).

LF Matt Holliday again hit third and 1B Albert Pujols fourth. This was the fifth game in a row the Cardinals have done this but the two were of little consequence Friday, going nothing for eight, although scoring a run apiece.

RHP Blake Hawksworth had his worst outing of the season Wednesday night when he gave up five hits and four runs in two innings, but there may be an explanation. It was revealed Friday that Hawksworth had suffered a recurrence of a right groin injury that had plagued him in spring training. He won't pitch until at least Tuesday. "It's not as bad (as in spring training)," said Hawksworth. "I just felt it grab again."

INF Aaron Miles, a valuable utility man for the Cardinals in 2006-08, has had a good start (10-for-27) at Class AA Springfield, after being signed as a free agent. But manager Tony La Russa says not to book Miles into the Cardinals' plans just yet although Miles currently has a May 27 "out" on his minor-league contract. "Whose spot does he take?" La Russa asked. "Who do you want to dump? The whole point is there isn't a dead spot here, some guy who's just hanging on." Joe Mather or Jon Jay, both young outfielders, would be the most vulnerable if Miles were brought up.

First-base coach Dave McKay has been kept off the field for the last several games because of a back ailment which he has aggravated. Bench coach Joe Pettini has been handling first-base duties.

CF Colby Rasmus has been striking out at an alarming rate lately. He did have a two-run triple in the first inning Friday but then struck out three times in a row after that and he has eight strikeouts in his last 14 at-bats.

By The Numbers:

9-Games the Cardinals went without a home run before they hit two on May 14. That was their longest dry spell since they had 10 homerless games in May 2007.

Quote To Note:

"I stopped worrying about where my body was, where my hands were… I went back to just trying to see the baseball."

-RF Ryan Ludwick, whose average had slipped into the .250s before he went on a recent eight-game hitting streak.  

ROSTER REPORT

Medical Watch:

RHP Brad Penny (upper back) re-aggravated the injury that had bothered him in his last start in Cincinnati, when he gave up 13 hits and seven runs in five innings. Penny is likely headed to the disabled list for possibly several weeks.

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