Reyes out for year with torn elbow ligament

Updated: October 3, 2005, 5:27 PM ET
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Cardinals reliever Al Reyes tore a ligament in his right elbow in the regular-season finale and will require reconstructive surgery, forcing him to miss the playoffs and next season.

Relief Pitcher
St. Louis Cardinals

65 4 2 20 67 2.15

Reyes, who was 4-2 with a 2.15 ERA and three saves in 65 games, was the team's top middle reliever -- and he was equally tough on right- and left-handed hitters. He struck out the side with the bases loaded to get the win on Friday and had 67 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings while holding opponents to a .177 batting average.

"Al Reyes was in the middle of any situation in the last three or four innings when we were trying to close out a game," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said Monday. "He had a great year."

La Russa said it's just another obstacle for a team that played much of the year minus four regulars and will be without third baseman Scott Rolen for the postseason. Rolen had season-ending shoulder surgery in August.

"You make too big of a thing of it and it sounds like, 'How do we win without him?' and we have to," La Russa said. "It's not important who takes his spot."

Trainer Barry Weinberg said Reyes had not reported any problems with the elbow before the injury in the sixth inning Sunday against the Reds, and he left the game with a 3-2 count on Felipe Lopez. An exam on Monday morning confirmed the team's suspicions, Weinberg said.

"It was a one-pitch episode," Weinberg said. "He felt some discomfort and knew it wasn't right."

The 35-year-old Reyes had reconstructive surgery on the elbow in 1995. The injury is expected to sideline him for a year.

"It's bad luck," Weinberg said. "It's horrible luck for him."

Weinberg said Jim Edmonds, who didn't start the last two games of the regular season due to shoulder soreness, would be in the lineup for the opener of the Cardinals' first-round playoff series against the Padres on Tuesday.

"He's doing much better," Weinberg said. "He'll be ready to go."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press