Edinson Volquez to start finale

  • Associated Press | April 24, 2011

ST. LOUIS -- Edinson Volquez, who warmed up but did not pitch in Friday night's rain-delayed loss to the St. Louis Cardinals, was set to start for the Cincinnati Reds in the series final Sunday night.

The Reds also put third baseman Scott Rolen on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left shoulder, retroactive to Thursday, and recalled infielder Chris Valaika from Triple-A Louisville. Rolen is the seventh Reds player placed on the DL this season.

Manager Dusty Baker said Sam LeCure, who had been listed as the starter, would probably pitch Monday night in Milwaukee. Baker said he'd decided on Volquez by the end of Friday's loss. Volquez opposed Jake Westbrook, making consecutive starts on three days' rest for the first time in his career and toting a 9.82 ERA.

Matt Maloney started in place of Volquez after a delay of 2 hours, 10 minutes Friday and recorded only six outs in a 5-3 loss while the Cardinals saved scheduled starter Kyle McClellan for after the delay. Stand-in starter Miguel Batista threw only six pitches before the game was halted.

Until the game starts, the home team makes the decision whether to play. Umpires have control after that.

"The umpires evidently didn't get the same [forecast] that the Cardinals got, I guess, because they wouldn't have started that game if they thought it was going to rain that soon," Baker said. "No way they would have started that game.

"To me, it made them look bad unnecessarily. Most people blame the umpires, they don't blame the Cardinals," he said.

Baker noted that Cardinals manager Tony La Russa's decision to start Batista could have backfired if the storm that featured at least three tornado sirens downtown and caused significant damage in the city had bypassed Busch Stadium.

"That's a very difficult call a lot of times because you're just guessing on the weather," La Russa said.

The 35-year-old Rolen has had shoulder issues for several years dating to a couple basepath collisions when he was with the Cardinals and had two cortisone injections on Thursday in Cincinnati. Both Rolen and Baker believe rest is the best course for now. Baker said he'd probably go with a combination of Miguel Cairo and shortstop Paul Janish at third.

"It's a shame," said La Russa, whose rift with Rolen led to the trade to the Toronto Blue Jays for Troy Glaus after the 2007 season.

The 36-year-old Cairo started for the third straight game Sunday night.

Rolen said the shoulder strain has also affected his neck.

"Rest is hard to come by when you're swinging a bat every day, so I think that's the answer, to calm it down and rest it," Rolen said. "They're not going to go away with a couple shots in the shoulder, but obviously addressing the shoulder was the main thing because that's where it's coming from."

Baker said he was surprised when Rolen told him the shoulder was bothering him, although in retrospect there were indications in "unorthodox swings" at the plate.

"Watch him over a period of a time and you'll notice, 'Well, that was an ugly swing more than a he was just fooled swing,'" Baker said. "I thought he was just slowing down a little bit, getting a little tired and then he says, 'Skip, I'm in bad shape.'"

Rolen, batting .217 after a 4-for-29 slump, said the shoulder had been hindering him for more than a week before he approached team medical personnel.

"I'm just hoping to come back and get some rest, and when my time's up I'm ready to go and we don't have to talk about this anymore," Rolen said.

Valaika batted .306 with a home run and six RBIs in the minors. The Reds also transferred outfielder Fred Lewis, rehabbing from a strained right oblique, from Double-A Carolina to Louisville. Lewis went on the disabled list before Opening Day.

Going with Westbrook was an easier decision for the Cardinals because he threw only 68 pitches while getting tagged for seven runs in three innings in a loss to the Nationals on Wednesday.

"I know he's challenging himself to get as deep as he can, give us a chance to win," La Russa said. "He didn't pitch all that well last time and he wants to get out there sooner rather than later."

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