ST. LOUIS -- Aaron Miles keeps hitting, and decision day keeps getting closer. That means there will actually be a decision for the Cardinals.
Miles entered Friday with a 10-for-27 mark in seven games at Double-A Springfield, with three doubles, five walks and five strikeouts. That follows a stint at extended spring training where he also fared well. Miles has an opt-out opportunity in his contract if he's not added to the Major League roster within 30 days of his signing, so he can leave the organization on Wednesday if he so desires.
If Miles had struggled at Springfield, it would be an easier decision. And with no real openings on the big league roster, it may still be an easy decision for the club. But his success means that the Cards will at least consider trying to find a spot for him in St. Louis.
"Whose spot does he take?" manager Tony La Russa asked. "Who do you want to dump? The whole point is there isn't a dead spot here, some guy who's just hanging on. There's nobody like him on the team, so he's got to show his ability. Then you look at his ability to see if what he can do is better than the guy he would replace. The fact that he's playing well has given us a decision. There's no dead weight on our roster, so it's a tough call."
If the Cardinals add Miles, they would likely send out an outfielder. But Nick Stavinoha has hit very well, Joe Mather is the backup center fielder and Jon Jay is the only left-handed hitter on the bench.
Groin sidelines Hawksworth for weekend
ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals right-hander Blake Hawksworth is unavailable this weekend because of a recurrence of the right groin injury that plagued him in Spring Training.
Hawksworth felt the injury when he was pitching on Wednesday night against the Nationals. He remained in the game, allowing four runs in two innings. He said Friday that despite a slump in May, Wednesday night was the first time he had experienced any discomfort in the area in several weeks. When Hawksworth came down with the injury in March, he attempted to pitch again, aggravating the condition and sidelining him for several days.
"It's not as bad [as in Spring Training]," Hawksworth said. "I just felt it grab again. It's kind of similar to the first time I hurt it in spring. The second time I pitched, it blew up. So if I keep it at this point, it will be fine."
The Cardinals hope that Hawksworth will be available to pitch on Tuesday for the opener of a series in San Diego.
"I'll probably try not to push him this weekend, but we've been told there's a good chance he could be ready for the next series," manager Tony La Russa said. "He could pitch this one, but we'll try not to use him, not to push him. ... I don't know if it affected that throw [on Wednesday] or not."
Hawksworth's injury leaves St. Louis with six available relievers.
Rapoport leads Triple-A Memphis' rout
ST. LOUIS -- James Rapoport went 4-for-6, leading five players with multihit games, as Triple-A Memphis steamrolled Sacramento, 13-3, on Thursday. Brandon Dickson pitched 6 2/3 solid innings, allowing two runs on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks. ... Steven Hill homered twice, backing Ryan Kulik's six shutout innings in Double-A Springfield's 8-1 win over Arkansas. Casey Mulligan pitched two shutout innings of relief. ... Arquimedes Nieto allowed six runs, five earned, in five innings, and Class A Palm Beach was held to four singles in a 6-0 loss to Tampa. ... C.J. Beatty doubled, walked and scored, but it was a quiet night for Class A Quad Cities, which lost to Cedar Rapids, 4-2.
Kulik earns player of the day honors for his second consecutive strong start. The lefty allowed five hits and one walk, striking out five. Kulik, 24, began the year in relief, but has yet to allow an earned run in two starts. Overall on the year, he's 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA, 23 strikeouts, nine walks and four homers allowed in 32 1/3 innings. Kulik was an eighth-round Draft pick out of Rowan University in 2008. He split the '09 season between Palm Beach and Springfield.
First-base coach Dave McKay remains hampered by a sore back and may yet go another couple of days before he's back in the coaches' box. Joe Pettini has filled in for him. ... Former Cardinals outfielder Brian Jordan threw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to Friday night's game against the Angels. ... The Angels are one of two Major League teams that the Cardinals have still never played in a regular-season road game, along with the Orioles. ... Jaime Garcia has a 1.66 ERA in his first nine Major League starts (dating back to 2008). That's the lowest for a Cardinals pitcher in his first nine big league starts since at least 1952, according to the club.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.