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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Outlook for Izturis

PITTSBURGH — Although the swelling subsided in his bruised right arm, shortstop Cesar Izturis is not expected to be able to throw at full strength for another five days to a week, the Cardinals said Wednesday. Manager Tony La Russa planned "to try not to play" Izturis until he's at what La Russa described as "100 percent comfortable."

Izturis took a pitch to his upper forearm, near the elbow, in the ninth inning of Tuesday's loss at Milwaukee. The blow affected a nerve and left his arm tingly, making it impossible to throw a ball. A large helping of ice on the bruise all night calmed the swelling and had him feeling better Wednesday. He was kept from any baseball activities.

"The hand is still a little numb," Izturis said. "But it was all the way numb, all the way up to the shoulder (on Tuesday)."


To provide protection at shortstop until Izturis is healthy, the Cardinals recalled infielder Brendan Ryan from his rehab assignment. Ryan joined the team in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, and he is expected to be in the lineup today. "We were going to make this move eventually," general manager John Mozeliak said. "We were going to wait until this weekend, but it made sense to do it now."

Ryan spent seven games in the minor leagues getting his timing back after missing the last third of spring training with a muscle strain near his rib cage. Ryan went seven for 13 in four games with the Cardinals' Class AA affiliate, and he played third, second and shortstop on his rehab assignment.

"It felt like it's been Christmas Eve for a long, long while," Ryan said. "I was just waiting to get back here. ... I'm anxious to see (if the timing at the plate is ready). That's one of the things you find out when you're thrown into the fire."


To make room for Ryan on the active roster, the Cardinals optioned reliever Brad Thompson to Class AAA. The righthander, who opened the season in the Cardinals' starting rotation, allowed four earned runs in his inning of work Tuesday at Milwaukee. Thompson (1-1, 4.58 ERA) will join Memphis' rotation. The jobs relievers have carved out for themselves this season — rookie Kyle McClellan as tight-game middle relief; Anthony Reyes in long relief — made Thompson the righthander removed from the bullpen, Cardinals officials said.


Left fielder Chris Duncan made his first start of the season in the cleanup spot, hitting behind Albert Pujols. Duncan had hit .379 with a couple of homers during his 10 games before Wednesday, but it was as much Rick Ankiel's skid as Duncan's surge that prompted the swap of them in the lineup. Ankiel hit No. 2.

La Russa said he might rotate them "like that all season," riding their streaks or priming their swings, depending on need.


La Russa figured it was "just a matter of time" before Walt Jocketty was a general manager again. It took just 21 games. Fired in October as general manager of the Cardinals, Jocketty, the architect of one of the finest decades in franchise history, was named GM of division rival Cincinnati on Wednesday. "His track record speaks for itself," La Russa said without listing the two NL pennants and World Series title.

"I wish him well," said Mozeliak, who was hired to the position less than a month after Jocketty's dismissal. "He was my mentor and what he did for me — I have an appreciation for what he did for my career. But now he is in the same division."

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