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04/01/08 8:51 PM ET

Cards unsure what to expect vs. Wells

Right-hander faces former team Tuesday in Rockies debut

ST. LOUIS -- After watching Kip Wells for a year, the Cardinals know this much: they don't know what they're going to see from the right-hander, who started against them on Tuesday night.

Wells endured a frustrating season as a Redbird in 2007, going 5-17 with a 6.27 ERA as a starter for St. Louis. Even within that run, though, he had some exemplary outings -- most notably seven one-hit innings against the Astros in his second start in a Cardinals uniform.

"If he comes out with his good stuff and he's locating well, he's going to be tough to hit," manager Tony La Russa aid. "But if he's throwing the ball over the middle..."

And Wells did that quite a bit in '07. Opponents slugged .460 against him, and by the end of the year, he found himself in the bullpen. Little thought was given on either side to a return by Wells. The Cardinals believed he could be successful as a reliever, but Wells was not ready to give up on starting.

"We needed him to pitch better than he did, but he never did it nonchalantly, like, 'What's the big idea?'" La Russa said. "That was part of the problem, you hated to see him suffer. [You] wish you could do more to help him."

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