Pelfrey was supposed to be recalled from Triple-A New Orleans to start the second game of the Mets' day-night doubleheader on Friday at Philadelphia. Instead, he'll stay in the minors and the Mets will start Orlando Hernandez (3-3) in the first game and John Maine (8-4) in the second. Hernandez had been scheduled to start Thursday's game against the Cardinals.
Pelfrey started the season in the Mets' rotation but dropped five straight decisions before being sent to the minors on May 13. He is 2-2 in seven starts with a 3.44 ERA for Triple-A New Orleans and "learning to pitch," according to New York manager Willie Randolph.
Had they brought up Pelfrey, the Mets would have had to make a roster move. The rainout eliminated that necessity.
Originally, Maine was scheduled for the day game and Hernandez in the night game. But Hernandez requested the switch.
"I'm pitching tomorrow," Hernandez said. "That's it. No comment."
The rainout pushed St. Louis starter Adam Wainwright back a day. Manager Tony La Russa said Wainwright would start Friday night against Cincinnati but did not announce his plans for the rest of the weekend against the Reds.
Because the rainout came in the Cardinals' last scheduled game in New York this season, the teams will have to make up the game on an mutally agreeable open date later in the year.
"We have to come back in July or August," La Russa said.
Meanwhile, another problem surfaced for the Cardinals, who have had a parade of players on the disabled list this season.
St. Louis welcomed back catcher Yadier Molina after he missed 26 games with a broken left wrist. But almost as quickly, the Cards lost infielder Scott Spiezio, who was hospitalized with an infected left index finger and did not accompany the team home Thursday night.
"He's a big loss for us," La Russa said of Spiezio. "It's good they caught it when they did. I don't think he'll play the whole weekend."
World Series MVP shortstop David Eckstein (back spasms) and pitcher Braden Looper (shoulder) could return soon. Chris Carpenter, who won the Cy Young Award in 2005, worked three innings in a simulated game at the team's training complex Wednesday in Jupiter, Fla. Carpenter has been sidelined since Opening Day and had surgery to remove bone spurs May 8.
Injury problems have forced the Cardinals to use six players who made their debuts with the club in the last month. Four of them were rookies. With the addition in the last week of pitchers Mike Maroth and Troy Percival, St. Louis has 10 players on the roster who were not with the team in 2006.
The Mets managed just seven runs in the three games they played against St. Louis but won two of them, taking the series opener 2-1 in 11 innings on a home run by Shawn Green and taking the rain-shortened third game 2-0 on Tom Glavine's one-hitter and a decisive homer by David Wright.
"We're positive going into the second half that guys will get closer to their regular-season numbers," Green said of the Mets' monthlong offensive struggles. "That's why it's good to have veterans. You turn the page on the tough times. Through the years, they've been through it. They understand. Once you're out of it, you don't want to go back."
After the rainout, the Mets left on an 11-game road trip leading to the All-Star break. There are four games in Philadelphia starting with a day-night doubleheader on Friday, three in Colorado and four in Houston.
"Those are three hitter's parks," Randolph said. "For all the guys who have been sputtering a little, it's a good time to get healthy."