Concussion from melee ends LaRue's career
Cards catcher says he won't play again after symptoms linger
ST. LOUIS -- Jason LaRue's career is over, and while that's certainly a disappointment to both LaRue and the Cardinals, how it happened is much more distressing.
LaRue told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he will not play again, a result of the concussion he suffered in the Cardinals' Aug. 10 scuffle with the Reds. Cincinnati pitcher Johnny Cueto kicked LaRue in the head repeatedly in the midst of the melee.
LaRue and the club initially hoped he would only be out a few days, but symptoms have lingered. LaRue remains at his home in Texas for the time being.
"I've talked to him a couple times," said manager Tony La Russa. "It's a constant irritation ... his career should have run its course. It might have run its course at the end of this year, but without that aggravation."
LaRue told the Post-Dispatch that he might have been on his way to retirement anyway, but that now it's a done deal.
"When it first happened, I thought it was just another concussion," he told the paper. "I felt within a couple days I would be fine. But I didn't feel good. And for a long time, nothing progressed."
The Cardinals remain irritated that Cueto received a seven-game suspension for actions that ended a career.
"We're not going to do anything about it, hold a grudge," La Russa said. "Normally, there's a judgment that just, sparks flew. Here, one guy [Brandon Phillips] instigated it and another guy [Cueto] escalated it. And I never really did hear anything. I'm not saying anything else."
Cardinals' clubhouse crowded with callups
ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals' clubhouse is a bit crowded these days after the club called up five players from Triple-A Memphis on Saturday.
That leaves St. Louis with 35 players on the active roster, an unusually high number for the Cards even during September, when teams are permitted to carry as many as 40 players on the active roster.
Manager Tony La Russa has repeatedly said over the years that he prefers fewer callups rather than more. It's his view that having too many players creates complications in the daily logistics of the club. However, he said Sunday he was fine with having 10 extra players for the final two-plus weeks of the 2010 season.
"Everybody has a role," La Russa said. "Joe [Mather] can protect us in a lot of different places. It allows you to use Randy Winn -- you don't have to save an outfielder, because you have extra outfielders now. Randy's one of our better pinch-hitters. [Daniel] Descalso, we'll see what he looks like. He may get a start."
Ottavino will not pitch in Majors this season
ST. LOUIS -- Adam Ottavino is progressing well in his recovery from a shoulder injury, but the right-hander will not pitch in a Major League game this year. Manager Tony La Russa said Sunday that it just doesn't make sense to take any chances with the rookie.
Ottavino, the Cardinals' first-round Draft pick in 2006, made five appearances before being sidelined with a shoulder injury. It was initially thought that he would require surgery, but he's come along extremely well with a non-surgical rehabilitation.
Although he's throwing on the side now, La Russa said Sunday that he will not appear in games this year.
"Absolutely not," the manager said. "I don't know what that serves, except risk. He's out there pitching under control. He goes in a big league game and starts to air it out, he's not conditioned to do it."
Despite an afternoon start in Florida on Monday and a compact travel schedule, the Cardinals elected not to send Chris Carpenter ahead to Florida early for his start there. The Sunday afternoon start allowed them to avoid such a move. ... Matt Pagnozzi got the start instead of Yadier Molina at catcher on Sunday. The Cardinals are trying to give Molina a few extra days as he battles knee soreness, and manager Tony La Russa said he liked the combination of a young catcher with a veteran pitcher like Adam Wainwright who can take command of his own game. ... Wainwright and Carpenter are closing in on becoming the first Cardinals teammates to top 220 innings each in the same year since Andy Benes and Todd Stottlemyre did so in 1996. Wainwright reached 225 1/3 innings in Sunday's victory, and Carpenter has hurled 216 frames on the season.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.