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GIANT-CARDINAL REPORT

Rolen Might Be Ready for Game 3

October 10, 2002|STEVE SPRINGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ST. LOUIS — Tony La Russa should feel right at home on the gambling boats that line the shores of the Mississippi River alongside this town.

The St. Louis Cardinal manager spun his own wheel of chance Wednesday when he put his injured third baseman, Scott Rolen, on the active roster for the National League championship series.

La Russa doesn't know when, or even if, Rolen, who has a sprained left shoulder, will be ready to play. Rolen is definitely out until at least Game 3 Saturday. And in the meantime, the Cardinals are playing a man short, with only four reserves.

"I think it's a risk and a gamble," said La Russa's San Francisco Giant counterpart, Dusty Baker. "I would not want to be in that situation."

La Russa said his optimism springs from the steady progress Rolen has made since he was injured in Game 2 of the division series against the Arizona Diamondbacks when pinch-runner Alex Cintron collided with him.

"I was here Sunday when [Rolen] got treatment and he could not raise his arm," La Russa said. "Monday, he could raise it to here [indicating chest level]. [Tuesday] he got it up to here [above the head]. I think we all would have had a bigger regret if, sometime this weekend, Scott Rolen is ready to go and he's off the list. We didn't think it would be worth the risk."

Rolen stepped into the batting cage Wednesday, bat in hand, but didn't take a swing.

"I was just trying to see some pitches," he said, "standing in the box."

Obtained from the Philadelphia Phillies in a trade in late July, Rolen batted .278 for the Cardinals in 55 games with 14 home runs and 44 runs batted in.

Rolen insists he won't play until he's ready.

"Just to hurry and get on the field is one thing," he said. "But if you're going to bring the ballclub down, not help the team, I don't think that's worth it."

*

St. Louis right-hander Woody Williams, who sat out the division series because of a pulled muscle on his side, was added to the roster and will start tonight's game. To make room for Williams, the Cardinals deactivated right-hander Luther Hackman.

*

The Giants made a one roster move, adding left-handed pitcher Chad Zerbe in place of right-hander Manny Aybar.

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