Pineiro likely to start for Cardinals this weekend

Updated: July 31, 2007, 7:11 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- A big weekend put the St. Louis Cardinals close enough to contending status to at least take a stab at improving the roster at the trade deadline.

Joel Pineiro


Relief Pitcher
St. Louis Cardinals


2007 Season Stats
31 1 1 14 20 5.03

The pitching-starved defending World Series champions on Tuesday acquired right-hander Joel Pineiro, optioned to the minors last week by the Boston Red Sox, and cash for a minor-league player to be named. The Cardinals had won three in a row, including comebacks from deficits of six and five runs, and were six games back of NL Central-leading Milwaukee entering Tuesday night's game at Pittsburgh.

Pineiro, 28, was a 16-game winner in 2003 and won 14 games in 2002. He was used exclusively in relief this year by the Red Sox before being sent to Triple-A Pawtucket on July 25 and will be pitching coach Dave Duncan's latest reclamation project.

Manager Tony La Russa said Pineiro, who made two minor-league starts after being demoted, will likely get a start this weekend. The Cardinals had interest in Pineiro in the offseason before he signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Red Sox.

"Reports were he was throwing the ball well," La Russa said. "We had guys on this club that know him and like him and endorsed him, and we'll take a look at him."

Duncan had great success last year with Jeff Weaver, who won a game in each round of the postseason and pitched the clinching game in the World Series. Jeff Suppan, who twice won 16 games and was the NL Championship Series MVP last fall, was a sub-.500 pitcher before coming to St. Louis in 2003, and Woody Williams helped the Cardinals make the playoffs in 2001 and won 18 games in '03.

However, the Cardinals released Tomo Ohka earlier this season after an unsuccessful minor-league trial period and cut ties with Sidney Ponson in midseason last year.

Pineiro played seven seasons with the Seattle Mariners before signing a free-agent deal with the Red Sox in January. He was 1-1 with a 5.03 ERA in 31 relief appearances for the Red Sox but had a 3.60 ERA in 16 road appearances covering 15 innings.

Cardinals starters have a 5.50 ERA and the rotation is without Mark Mulder and ace Chris Carpenter, who had reconstructive elbow surgery earlier this month. The rotation has included three former relievers: Braden Looper (4.85), Adam Wainwright (4.45) and Brad Thompson (5.15). It also includes Anthony Reyes, Kip Wells and Mike Maroth, who have ERAs above 5.00.

Reyes ended a 12-game losing streak on Saturday and will get at least one more start, probably bumping Maroth later this week.

Pineiro has a career record of 59-56 with a 4.50 ERA in 26 games, including 148 starts. He was 14-7 in 2002 and 16-11 in 2003.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press