Updated: August 8, 2008, 11:26 AM ET

  • Comment
  • Email
  • Share

Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images

We last saw Adam Wainwright closing during the 2006 World Series against the Tigers.

Wainwright in the closer mix

The closer madness continues.

As my friend and colleague Will Harris wrote yesterday, Chris Perez got a save for the Cardinals Wednesday with 1 2/3 innings of relief against the Dodgers. Since Jason Isringhausen and Ryan Franklin have been relatively disastrous of late, Will is right: Perez really is a threat for saves in St. Louis.

But a new candidate emerged yesterday, and he looks mighty familiar.

After angrily dismissing questions about whether Adam Wainwright might return from the DL as a reliever rather than a starter last month, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa acknowledged that the team is giving serious consideration to bringing Wainwright back to reprise the role he filled with such aplomb during the team's '06 World Series run. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the team accelerated the beginning of Wainwright's rehab stint while canceling his rotation appearance at Triple-A. Instead, he'll throw out of the bullpen tonight, and GM John Mozeliak said, "We moved him up since he's probably going to come back as a reliever."

Now, Mozeliak also said, "It's not set. There's a chance before he comes back that we have a solution and it's not a need. Then he'll come back as a starter. We want to be prepared. Right now, everything is on the table." But unless someone like Perez rattles off several consecutive saves over the weekend, it sounds like Wainwright is going to be the Cardinals closer.

I'm definitely in agreement with Will Harris: Perez should be owned in deeper leagues, on the chance that he reaches up and grabs the closer's job. But Wainwright is available in about 20 percent of ESPN.com leagues, and after pitching tonight and on Monday for Triple-A Memphis, there's a chance he'll get the call as the Cardinals' new/old fireman. If he's available in any of your leagues, grab him.

Past editions: 8/7: Perez earns save | 8/6: Closer carousel | 8/5: Joba hurt?

Box Score Bits
Need any more proof that Manny Ramirez can turn it on and off when he wants to? Ramirez went 1-for-3 with another homer yesterday; in his six-game Dodger career, Ramirez is now 13-for-23 with four homers and 10 runs batted in. … Carl Crawford told the Tampa Tribune that his legs feel much better after he sat out his third straight game Wednesday. He went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored Thursday night. … Ryan Ludwick had his consecutive-games-with-a-homer streak stopped at five, as he "only" went 1-for-3 against the Dodgers on Thursday. … Roy Oswalt gave up just one run in seven innings while notching his ninth win. It was his best outing since coming off the DL, but we could've seen this coming: it came against Cincinnati. Oswalt is now 21-1 against the Reds, the best winning percentage against one opponent in major league history among pitchers with 20 wins or more. … Lance Berkman broke his 2-for-20 skid by going 3-for-5 against the Reds. Berkman might have been the NL's first-half MVP, but he's now homer-free since June 30. Home Run Derby jinx, anyone? … Raul Ibanez kept up his hot streak by hitting a walk-off homer off Dan Wheeler in the bottom of the ninth Thursday night. In the past week, he's 12-for-28 with three homers and 16 runs batted in. … Justin Duchscherer allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings against the Blue Jays, his second sub-par outing in his past three. He's been stuck on 10 wins since July 8. … Clayton Kershaw put together his third straight very good start Thursday, allowing one run, three hits and four walks in seven innings. In those last three starts, Kershaw has fanned 15 batters in 19 innings while walking six and allowing a total of one run. … Rookie starter Chris Volstad outdueled Cole Hamels Thursday, pitching six shutout innings compared to Hamels's two runs allowed in 6 1/3 innings. Volstad registered his third win for the Marlins, while Hamels has been stuck on nine wins since July 3. … Scott Schoeneweis blew his third save of the year for the Mets, giving up a solo homer to Jody Gerut in the top of the ninth. David Wright responded in the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off homer, but still: with Billy Wagner on the DL, the bullpen situation in New York is beyond dire. … The Tigers closer carousel continues as well. Joel Zumaya was used in the seventh inning of a 5-2 game, and Fernando Rodney got a save against the White Sox last night. … Scott Hairston of the Padres played at second base for the first time since 2004. … Lastings Milledge hit two homers off Jeff Francis in Francis's return from the DL Thursday. That gives Milledge 11 dingers on the year to go with 14 steals, though his batting average is still just .250. … Brad Zeigler did it again, pitching a scoreless inning for the A's. He's up to 35 shutout innings this year. … Cristian Guzman hadn't started in more than two weeks because of an injured thumb, but he played in the first game of yesterday's doubleheader (and went 0-for-4 with a walk).


Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

Standing Out

THEY COME IN BUNCHES
Joel Hanrahan, Nationals
After being held to just one save since the trade of erstwhile closer Jon Rauch to Arizona, Hanrahan was called on to save both ends of Thursday's doubleheader. He faced seven batters, striking out one and walking none.

ROAD STILL ROCKY
Jeff Francis, Rockies
In his first start since coming off the DL, Francis allowed five earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. He gave up 8 hits, four of them for extra bases: A double, a triple and two home runs. On the plus side, he did not walk a batter while striking out three.
News and Notes
Chipper Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he expects to be activated from the DL today, though he may stay in a reserve role this weekend. … The New York Daily News reported that Andy Pettitte has a sore pitching shoulder, and is in danger of missing his next turn in the Yankees rotation. However, Pettitte himself subsequently told the New York Post that he wouldn't miss any starts. … The Daily News also reports that Hideki Matsui took batting practice on Wednesday and tried running in the outfield yesterday at the Yankees' minor-league complex in Florida. Matsui still hopes to avoid knee surgery and return this season. … Finally, the Daily News mentions that the Mets are no longer counting on Ryan Church to return from his concussion problems this season. … The post-All-Star blues have had their way with Dan Uggla. After yesterday's 0-for-4, Uggla is down to a .264 average, but more importantly has gone five straight games without a run batted in. He also has only three homers since the Break. … The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Reds haven't decided whether Aaron Harang's next start will come in the majors or minors. Harang threw six shutout innings Monday at Triple-A, but the team reportedly wasn't entirely happy with the way his breaking pitches looked. Harang told reporters his strained forearm feels fine. … The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres put Brian Giles on revocable waivers, and that the Red Sox claimed him. The teams would have 48 hours to make a trade, but the Union-Tribune speculates that the Red Sox simply blocked Giles from being traded elsewhere. Giles, it should be mentioned, has a limited no-trade clause which allows him to nix a deal to Boston. … Michael Cuddyer is expected to come off his minor-league rehab stint Monday. … Joe Torre told the LA Times that Jason Schmidt isn't likely to return to the majors this year. … Royals second baseman Mark Grudzielanek has a torn ligament in his ankle and may be out for the year, according to the Kansas City Star. Esteban German is starting regularly at second in Grudzy's absence and is worth a look in deeper leagues. … Jack Cust didn't play Thursday night because of a sore thumb. … Ivan Rodriguez is expected back in the Yankees lineup tonight. … The Mariners have removed Miguel Batista from their rotation, again, but haven't named a replacement yet. Ryan Rowland-Smith is a possibility, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer … The Washington Post reports that a batted ball struck Tim Redding as he was standing in the outfield before Thursday's first game, and that he lay on the field for several minutes. However, the Nationals announced that Redding was all right, and should be able to make his next start.
They Wrote It

"The practical impact is that [Joba] Chamberlain, among the two or three most important members of the Yankees' pitching staff, is not available now -- he won't be for at least a couple of weeks -- and it's not certain whether he will pitch again this season."

-- Buster Olney Full Story

Transactions

• The Yankees officially put Joba Chamberlain on the DL Thursday, and according to the New York Daily News are expected to call up Ian Kennedy to pitch tonight's game against the Angels. Dan Giese is pitching Saturday, and if Andy Pettitte can't go Sunday, Darrell Rasner could get another look.

• The Nationals put Elijah Dukes back on the DL Thursday, this time with a calf problem caused when he hit himself in the leg with his backswing. He'll be out at least four weeks. Willie Harris should get most of the team's starts in left field.

• The Rangers placed David Murphy on the DL with a sprained right knee which he suffered in a home-plate collision Wednesday with Ivan Rodriguez. Marlon Byrd and Brandon Boggs will pick up at-bats while Murphy is out.