Cards give Wells another shot, bump Wellemeyer to bullpen
Wells' 3-11 record and 5.92 ERA remain unsightly, but the right-hander lowered his ERA more than a point and picked up a victory after being sent to the bullpen in mid-June. In four appearances and a spot start he allowed only two runs in 16 innings.
"I think he's found better command and life on his fastball down in the zone," manager Tony La Russa said.
The reinstatement of Wells, a $4 million free agent pickup in the offseason, means Todd Wellemeyer (3-1, 4.19) returns to the bullpen. Wellemeyer threw five scoreless innings in a 7-0 victory over Barry Zito and the San Francisco Giants on Sunday, and the Cardinals are 7-1 in his eight starts.
Mike Maroth (0-1, 4.11) and Adam Wainwright (7-7, 4.66) also are scheduled to pitch in a three-game series in Philadelphia that begins on Friday, with Braden Looper (6-7, 4.72) and Brad Thompson (6-3, 4.90) working the first two games of a three-game set in Florida after that.
La Russa said informing Wellemeyer after the game was "probably the toughest decision" of the first half.
"Look at our record on the day he pitches," La Russa said. "It's remarkable. To tell him he's going to be in the bullpen is a really tough call."
Wellemeyer didn't seem to mind much. He assumed he'd be back in relief eventually, with ace Chris Carpenter making his second rehab start on Sunday and Mark Mulder slowly gearing up for a return. The Cardinals had also considered moving Thompson back to the bullpen.
"I knew I was going to end up in the bullpen eventually," said Wellemeyer, a waiver wire pickup from the Royals in mid-May. "I've got my confidence up and it should be an interesting second half."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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