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Simontacchi to start Friday
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09/11/2002 7:04 pm ET 
Simontacchi to start Friday
By Jared Hoffman / MLB.com

Jason Simontacchi will start Friday night in Houston. (Scott Rovak/Cardinals)
MILWAUKEE -- The decision to start Jason Simontacchi over Jamey Wright on Friday at Houston still leave's Wright role a little unclear.

Wright could see action from the bullpen, but not in the immediate future as the Cardinals need him to be available as a starter until they're sure Woody Williams, who pitched five shutout innings Monday but experienced some tightness in his side, is able to go on Saturday.

In his last start against the Reds on Sept. 4, Wright went three innings and allowed five runs on six hits and four walks.

"Dunc has been doing some really good work with him," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. "I'm not sure about Woody's situation for Saturday and that's one of the reason's we acquired Jamey was to have that protection."

La Russa was also careful to emphasize that Friday's start for Simontacchi is not part of a start-by-start competition with Wright. "I think there's enough on Jason Simontacchi, who is trying to beat Houston. We're just trying to win the game."

Simontacchi pitched eight innings in a 3-1 victory over the Cubs last Sunday, following a game in which the bullpen threw 11 1/3 innings.

Is the current motto for staying in the rotation, "What have you done for me lately?"

"It's not that cold," said La Russa. "The attitude for everybody has to be: if you've done, you've got to keep doing well. You're not going be able to come in here if you're not ready to pitch or not ready to play and say well, 'I was good here for the first four months.' Everything is in front of us."

Farewell to Matthews: Cardinals reliever Mike Matthews switched locker rooms Wednesday as he was second the player to be named in the deal that sent Wright from Milwaukee to St. Louis. In 43 relief appearances for the Cardinals this season, Matthews was 2-1 with a 3.89 ERA. He has been on the 15-day DL since Aug. 21 because of a strained right hip flexor, but the Brewers activated Matthews from the DL after making the deal.

One year later: The Cardinals, who were in Milwaukee last Sept. 11 to play the Brewers, participated in a pregame ceremony called "A Tribute to Heroes." La Russa presented four members of the New York Fire Department with Cardinals team jackets, catcher Mike Matheny read a letter to fans from President Bush and the poem written and read by Jack Buck when play resumed at Busch Stadium last Sept. 17 was recited by eight-year-old Justin Kozlowski of Milwaukee.

Notes: Jason Isringhausen worked a perfect ninth Tuesday in his first appearance since Aug. 25 and is available to pitch Wednesday. ... The Cardinals are going for their ninth series sweep of the season Wednesday against the Brewers. Last season, the Cardinals had 12 series sweeps. ... J.D. Drew who has seen limited action recently because of a left quadriceps injury, was back in the starting lineup Wednesday and batting second.

Fantasy Edge: The Cardinals are hoping Jim Edmonds, who is hitting only .154 in September, can turn it around against the Astros. Recent history suggests that is a strong possibility. Edmonds is hitting .381 with six home runs and 11 RBIs against the Astros. At Minute Maid Park, Edmonds is bating .450 (9-for-20) this season.

Jared Hoffman is an editorial producer, based in St. Louis, for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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