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Cards notes: Girardi gets a start
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06/11/2003  8:04 PM ET 
Cards notes: Girardi gets a start
Edmonds starts at DH, Pujols takes over at 1B
Vote now for the 2003 All-Star game
BOSTON -- Joe Girardi waited three months to be added to the Cardinals' active roster. He had to wait one day to find himself in the lineup.

As expected, Girardi started for the Cardinals on Wednesday at Fenway Park, catching Brett Tomko. He was activated from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday after missing the season's first two-plus months with a neck injury.

"I wasn't sure if I was gonna play again," Girardi said. "So it is a big day."

He takes over the backup catching chores from Chris Widger, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a numb thumb when Girardi was activated. Widger pleased the Cardinals with his throwing, but his two designated pitchers, Brett Tomko and Garrett Stephenson, have been struggling.

Girardi will take it upon himself to help them out -- if in fact he continues Widger's pattern.

"Your job, no matter who you catch, is to get the best out of the pitcher," he said. "No matter who (manager Tony La Russa) matches me up with, or if it's just spelling Mike (Matheny), giving him a day. You have to be prepared and you have to pay close attention."

Ohme designated: To make room for Girardi, who had been on the 60-day disabled list, the Cardinals had to make a move on the 40-man roster as well as the 25-man. That move was designating lefty reliever Kevin Ohme for assignment. Ohme served two stints with the Cards, though he pitched only twice. He did not allow a run in 4 1/3 innings.

Ohme is currently pitching for Triple-A Memphis, where he has struggled. He is 1-5 with a 7.32 ERA and has walked 12 batters in 19 2/3 innings.

Lineup shuffles: When the Cardinals clubhouse was opened to the media, all names were written on the lineup card, but only six positions were filled in. La Russa was unsure at first whether J.D. Drew would be able to play the field. Drew is still recovering from offseason knee surgery, and it can be difficult for him to play on consecutive days -- especially when he has to do a great deal of running, as was the case on Tuesday.

The manager eventually decided to use Drew as his designated hitter, with Albert Pujols at first base and Eduardo Perez in right field. But in a last-minute switch, Jim Edmonds was removed from the defensive alignment and installed as DH, with Drew playing center field. Edmonds suffered a cramp in his leg Tuesday.

Tino out: First baseman Tino Martinez sat out Wednesday's game after sustaining a mild right hamstring strain Tuesday. Martinez is expected to sit out Thursday as well, but hopes to play over the weekend at Yankee Stadium.

    Tino Martinez   /   1B
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 210
Bats/Throws: L/R

More info:
Player page
Stats
Splits
Hit chart
Rays site

"Tino is sore, but we're still thinking it's not severe," La Russa said. "Keep our fingers crossed."

Izzy already? For now, Cal Eldred remains the Cardinals closer. Jason Isringhausen was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, but the team would rather let him get his feet wet in middle relief before handing him a one-run lead in the ninth inning. There's a qualifier there, though.

Eldred has battled elbow problems for much of his career, and he will not always be available on consecutive days. He will rarely, if ever, be available three consecutive days. So if Eldred is unavailable, and the Cards have a ninth-inning lead, and the opposing hitters are primarily right-handed ... then you could see Izzy getting a save chance sooner than expected.

"I'm just happy to have him back," La Russa said. "All those problems, I'm looking forward to having.

"I think you try to give guys fair challenges. If we had a lead in the ninth, and you look at the other right-handers that we're gonna pitch, would it be fair to put (Esteban) Yan, (Dustin Hermanson) or (Kiko) Calero in there? I think the answer is no. So I'd send Jason out there.

"He's not gonna be intimidated. He'll do the best he can. It's not fair, but he would be the best one to do it. I hope we have that situation come up. I really do, with all my heart."

New Triple-A skipper: Tom Spencer was removed as the manager of the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. Spencer was reassigned within the organization and replaced by Danny Sheaffer, who managed Class A Peoria last year.

Baby 'Birds: Dee Haynes and John Gall had three hits each as Memphis beat Fresno, 7-4. Steve Stemle pitched seven strong innings but did not receive a decision. ... Double-A Tennessee lost, 2-1, to Greenville despite a fine outing from Nick Stocks. Bucky Jacobsen homered for the Smokies' only run. ... Single-A Palm Beach beat Jupiter, its co-tenant in Roger Dean Stadium, by a 6-4 count thanks to a five-run seventh. ... Single-A Peoria was hammered, 8-0, by Fort Wayne.

The player of the day was Palm Beach's Gabe Johnson, who went 2-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs. Johnson, 23, was the Cards' third-round draft pick in 1998. He smacked 26 homers for Peoria last year, but has struggled to a .225 mark with six longballs this season.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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