Rolen struggling at plate since return from surgery

Updated: July 22, 2005, 11:20 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen, who has complained of pain at the plate since returning from shoulder surgery in mid-June, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday.

Scott Rolen
Third Base
St. Louis Cardinals
Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
GM HR RBI R OBP AVG
56 5 28 28 .323 .235

Manager Tony La Russa indicated it was Rolen's call.

"He just doesn't think he can be competitive," La Russa said. "It's not working, so we go to the next step, which is to shut him down and try to get him healthy."

Rolen was injured May 10 in a baserunning collision with Dodgers first baseman Hee-Seop Choi and missed 33 games following surgery. The six-time Gold Glove winner has been up to his standards in the field since returning from the DL, but has struggled at the plate.

"The idea was I was going to progress along the way and just swinging the bat was going to help my shoulder, and the reality of it was I did not progress along the way," Rolen said. "It got worse. I've had swings in the last week that were just bad, painfully bad.

"It's time to not swing anymore."

Rolen was batting .207 with no homers and eight RBI in 87 at-bats since his return, and his season numbers -- .235 average, five homers and 28 RBI -- also are significantly down. Rolen had four consecutive 100-RBI seasons before this year.

The numbers, 2-for-21, are even worse since the All-Star break.

"The last two days I realized I wasn't able to put a swing, good competitive at-bat together," Rolen said. "To be pretty upfront about it, I'm not healthy enough to ... I'm not healthy enough right now.

"I tried and I have no regrets."

La Russa said Thursday that he thought the Cardinals could nurse Rolen through the injury and warned that the alternative to a Rolen at less than 100 percent was no Rolen for the rest of the season. Medical tests administered earlier in the week showed tendinitis and inflammation to the rotator cuff, but also showed that the left shoulder was stronger than the right shoulder.

"We felt if we were careful, we could keep playing him," La Russa said. "It just didn't work out. Hopefully by resting it we'll get him back."

The decision to put Rolen on the DL was reached after conversations with the third baseman, team physician Dr. George Paletta and trainer Barry Weinberg. The medical staff is optimistic that Rolen will be able to return. Weinberg said the biggest problem is inflammation to the rotator cuff.

"We hope to get him 100 percent functional by the end of the year," Weinberg said.

The Cardinals recalled Scott Seabol from Triple-A Memphis. La Russa said he'd use a combination of four players at the position while his All-Star third baseman was out: Abraham Nunez, John Mabry, Hector Luna and Seabol.

This is Seabol's second stint with the team. He batted .254 with one homer and eight RBI in 59 at-bats following Rolen's surgery, filling in at third base and the outfield.

"I think I know what I have to do," Seabol said. "I need to be versatile."


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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