Notes: Rolen says he's ready to start
La Russa cautiously optimistic about Cards third baseman
NEW YORK -- From Scott Rolen's perspective, there's no medical decision to be made regarding his sore and fatigued left shoulder. He's good to go. Manager Tony La Russa will have strictly a baseball decision when he makes out his lineup on Wednesday for Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Mets.
"The workouts went well," Rolen said on Tuesday as the Cards worked out at Shea Stadium. "I can play tomorrow. I'm going to come in and look at the lineup and go from there."
Rolen sat out Game 4 of the Cards' Division Series because he felt the issues in his left shoulder were having too much effect on his ability to perform at a high level. Scott Spiezio took his place at third base in St. Louis' 6-2 win over the Padres.
However, the six-time Gold Glover received an anti-inflammatory shot on Sunday night, and Rolen considers himself good to go.
"I could do everything," he said. "There's a little misconception. I was trying to come clean and say I could battle. I'm struggling a little bit. I can hit, I can throw, I could run and I could field. The shoulder was fatigued, without question. I wasn't trying to make excuses. I was trying to stay in the lineup."
Still, it's fortunate for Rolen that the series doesn't start until Wednesday.
"It takes a couple of days," Rolen said. "I feel better. I feel like I can take batting practice and stretch with the club. [I can take] full swings."
La Russa was cautiously optimistic about the situation.
"I know the report is that he came through the workout well," said the manager. "It looked like he was moving well, so I'd be optimistic that he would be in there."
Game 4 starter still undetermined: La Russa still was not tipping his hand Tuesday as to who will take the mound for St. Louis in Game 4 of the NLCS. Jeff Weaver, Jeff Suppan and Chris Carpenter will stay on turn for Games 1, 2 and 3, but the fourth slot is open. Anthony Reyes and Jason Marquis are the two realistic candidates.
Pitching to Albert: One hot topic of Tuesday's sessions in the interview room were the questions of whether, when and how to pitch to Albert Pujols. Lefty Tom Glavine, the Game 1 starter for the Mets, has never had much luck getting Pujols out (9-for-20). Oddly, though, for a man usually unwilling to give in, he's only walked Pujols once.
"There's a competitive side that we have as pitchers, that want to try to get him out," Glavine said. "I think you have to factor in the situations in the game. You have to factor in what you have out there on the mound on a given night, and you have to factor in maybe the previous at-bats during the course of the game that you've had with him and how he's looked or how he may or may not be swinging the bat. All of those things come into play.
"But I can assure you we're not going to stand on the mound and just stupidly say, 'The better side of me wants to get him out and I have something to prove,' or something like that. That's not going to happen. Sooner or later, we're going to have to pitch to him before the series is over. He's not going to walk every time he comes up there, I can assure you of that."
Pujols went 5-for-20 with one walk against the Mets in the regular season this year. Two of those hits -- and seven of his nine RBIs -- came in an Aug. 22 loss at Shea.
TV times: Major League Baseball announced game times and broadcast times on Tuesday for the entirety of the two League Championship Series. With only one possible exception, every Cardinals-Mets game will be played under the lights.
Games 1, 2, 5 and 7 are all set for 7:19 p.m. CT, with a 7 p.m. CT television time on FOX. Game 3 will start at 7:05 p.m. CT on Saturday, with a 6:30 TV time, while Game 4 on Sunday has a first pitch of 7:15 p.m. CT and a broadcast time of 6:30. Game 6 on Oct. 18 is the only contest that is in any doubt as to a start time. If the American League Championship Series has ended by that time, then a potential NLCS Game 6 would start at 7:19 p.m. CT and would be carried on FOX with a broadcast time of 7 p.m. CT. However, if there is a Game 7 of the ALCS, then Game 6 of the Cardinals-Mets series would start at 3:19 p.m. CT with a TV time of 3 p.m. CT on FOX.
World Series tickets: The Cardinals will begin selling tickets on Thursday, Oct. 19, for a possible World Series appearance. The team will use an on-line registration program for tickets. Fans must preregister at StLCardinals.com by 5 p.m. CT on Monday for a random drawing to have the opportunity to purchase tickets online. Tickets will not be available at Busch Stadium, over the phones or at any ticket outlet.
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Winners of the drawing will be notified by e-mail on Wednesday, Oct. 18. That e-mail will provide instructions on how to purchase tickets on Oct. 19 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. CT. Those selected in the drawing will have the opportunity to purchase up to two tickets for one game out of the three possible games at Busch Stadium.
With prices ranging from $50 to $250 each, postseason tickets will be available in most seating areas throughout Busch Stadium.
This date in Cardinals history: On Oct. 10, 1926, the Cardinals closed out the first World Series championship in franchise history with a 3-2 win over the Yankees in Game 7 of the Fall Classic at Yankee Stadium. Jesse Haines shut down the Yanks for the second time in the series, and Tommy Thevenow had a two-run single for the key offensive blow.
Back to Memphis: The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that they will play an exhibition game against their Triple-A Memphis affiliate at AutoZone Park in Memphis next spring. The game is set for Friday, March 30, 2007, at 7:10 p.m. CT. Tickets will go on sale in Memphis on Wednesday.
Coming up: The series gets under way on Wednesday night, with the Cards opening an NLCS on the road for the first time since 1996. Weaver takes the mound for St. Louis against Mets left-hander Glavine -- who, coincidentally, pitched for Atlanta in that same '96 NLCS. First pitch is set for 7:19 p.m. CT at Shea, with TV coverage on FOX (KTVI TV-2 in St. Louis).
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.