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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Wellemeyer re-examined

Starting pitcher Todd Wellemeyer was examined Saturday morning after admitting to elbow and forearm discomfort during and after Friday night's 10-out appearance against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Wellemeyer described himself as "gator-arming" the ball in his last two innings as he found it impossible to straighten his elbow. He said the condition had eased Saturday but that some of the tightness that radiated from the elbow remained.

Wellemeyer is scheduled to throw a side session Tuesday, but his next start could be in question if the condition does not improve significantly.

"If it doesn't improve, I'm telling them I can't pitch," he said. "I'm not going out there to be a hero."

Elbow irritation caused the team to postpone Wellemeyer's start three days before Friday's debacle. He needed 90 pitches while being tagged for eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings. After the first inning, Wellemeyer said he found it impossible to rotate his wrist, leaving him incapable of throwing his slider.

"It wasn't very fair," manager Tony La Russa acknowledged.


Minus his favorite pair of sunglasses, La Russa reiterated his dissatisfaction Saturday with plate umpire Larry Vanover's ejection of reliever Russ Springer for hitting Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard with an eighth-inning pitch in Friday's 20-2 drubbing. La Russa was also ejected after voicing his displeasure to Vanover and crew chief Tim McClellan.

"The guy (Vanover) made a big mistake," said La Russa, who at one point threw, kicked and broke his shades. "It was not intentional in any way, shape or form. I had a big problem with that. I had a bigger problem when a guy throws behind our infielder and that's not intentional."

Vanover did not toss Phillies reliever Rudy Seanez when he threw behind shortstop Brendan Ryan in the bottom of the inning. Vanover's inaction drew an argument from Jose Oquendo that led to the Cardinals third-base coach's ejection.

Howard had homered twice before Springer plunked him on the right thigh with a fastball. Springer insisted there was no intent to hit Howard; La Russa said his pitcher was merely following orders to attack Howard inside after the Lafayette alum connected on an outside pitch and another over the plate's middle third.

"We have a reputation for protecting our players, but we don't instigate (stuff)," La Russa said. "If a guy's hitting good, you pitch him differently. That really (hacked) me off."

La Russa and Mozeliak planned to speak to supervisor of umpires Rich Rieker on Saturday in an attempt to soften or avoid any potential discipline for Springer, who could face a fine and a suspension for the incident.

"They may look at it and say, 'Wait a minute. It didn't look good, but we took the action,'" La Russa said, adding, "I didn't cuss anybody. I threw my glasses. I didn't cuss them about it. Games like this happen every day in baseball. There wasn't anything that went over the line (Friday night)."

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