ST. LOUIS -- Lefty reliever Steve Kline will know very soon whether he'll be out of action for six weeks or four months. Kline will see hand specialist Dr. Richard Gelberman in St. Louis on Wednesday to determine how extensive a procedure he needs on his injured left index finger.
Kline has a 70 percent tear in the flexor tendon on that finger, and he will need surgery to repair the tendon. However, there are two different kinds of surgery -- one of which would keep him out for approximately six weeks, the other for about four months. Neither is exactly great news for Kline, who is eligible for free agency after the season.
The finger has bothered Kline for the better part of two years, but it only restricted him from pitching in the past month or so.
"I guess about two years ago I came in here and I complained about it," he said Tuesday before Game 3 of the World Series. "It was kind of stiff and swollen. They injected me with cortisone, thinking it was tendinitis. And then four or five months later they injected me again so I could finish the season. And then I came back the next year, and they injected me again. Over the last two years, they've injected me four times."
"That's not their fault. It's my fault. But once I hurt my groin (in late August), I thought, 'I can finally get my finger looked at.' They didn't know I had a tear. That's really uncommon. This is an uncommon injury."
Now he'll finally get it operated on -- "as soon as possible," he said.
Kline has cooled off some after his initial displeasure at being left off the World Series
roster. He said at the time, and still says, that he completely understands the decision to leave him off. However, he was frustrated by the fact that he found out by watching television.
"I'm not gonna worry about it now," he said. "What are you gonna do? I'm off the roster. Like I told you, I'm a big man. I can handle that. I was upset at the way I found out. I wasn't upset about the roster move. In the back of your mind, you're always thinking,
'Will I be on or will I be off?'"
Edgar Renteria / SS
Weight: 200 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Renteria wondering: A reporter asked shortstop Edgar Renteria, like Kline a free agent after the season, whether he expected to be back in St. Louis in 2005. Renteria said he had no idea.
"I don't know," he said with a smile to several assembled media members. "You guys tell me. You guys know more than me."
Renteria will be one of the club's top priorities, if not the No. 1 priority, when the offseason arrives. And he said he'd love to be back. But for now, it's an open question.
"I love St. Louis," he said. "I think since I've been here, I'm a better ballplayer. To me, I'd love to stay here."
Renteria batted leadoff on Tuesday for the fourth straight game, rather than his usual No. 6 or 7 position. Manager Tony La Russa has been putting the "captain" in Tony Womack's usual spot so that if Womack needs to be removed from a game, Hector Luna won't have to be put in the leadoff slot. Womack is battling back spasms and a sore collarbone.
Leyland to interview: The Cardinals may soon lose one of their top scouts. Jim Leyland, who serves as an advance scout in Pittsburgh, will interview on Monday for the Phillies' vacant managerial position. Leyland has 13 years of managing experience in the big leagues, 11 of them with the Pirates. He won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997.
"I think it's a great situation," Leyland told MLB.com on Tuesday. "This team is very close to winning. I miss the competition. I didn't miss a lot of the other things that went with the job, but I think now is the right time.
"If this had been two, three years ago, I wouldn't have been ready to come back. There was no question that I was burned out (in 1999). But now, I've spent enough time away to say I'd like to come back."
Leyland serves as an adviser in Spring Training as well as checking out the rest of the National League when teams come to PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.