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04/22/11 10:31 PM ET

Cards' move gets McClellan back on mound

Right-hander picks up after rain delay against Reds

ST. LOUIS -- With rain threatening imminently, the Cardinals made a last-minute change in their starting lineup on Friday night, and it ended up paying off.

Approximately 15 minutes before the first pitch of their game against the Reds, the Cardinals announced that Miguel Batista would start in place of Kyle McClellan. It's not an entirely uncommon tactic for a team facing a rain delay. The idea was that if a lengthy rain delay strikes early in the game, the starter might be limited to only one or two innings, essentially wasting his start.

That's exactly what happened, as the skies opened up and the game was delayed after a mere six pitches. When play resumed more than two hours later at 9:30 p.m. CT, the Cardinals had McClellan ready to go, and he came in to face Brandon Phillips with a runner on second base. Reds starter Edinson Volquez, meanwhile, was removed from the game after the delay in favor of Matt Maloney.

Batista last started a game on July 27, 2010, also as a spot starter -- in that case, standing in for Stephen Strasburg with the Nationals.

Westbrook to start on short rest against Reds

ST. LOUIS -- Barring a rainout before then, Jake Westbrook will start the Cardinals' Sunday night game against the Reds.

Westbrook will be pitching as a starter on three days' rest for the third time in his Major League career, and the first time since 2001. The situation is a result of the Cardinals' Tuesday rainout against the Nationals. That forced a doubleheader on Wednesday, pushing Westbrook back a day from his originally scheduled start.

However, if more rain forces a postponement of either Friday or Saturday's game, Westbrook would likely be pushed back to Tuesday, after the Cardinals' off day.

In Westbrook's first short-rest start, in 2000, he allowed four runs in 2 2/3 innings and took the loss. However, the following year, he pitched a fine game, allowing one run in six innings and collecting a win. However, both of those starts were after extended relief outings, not after starts. Westbrook has never started four days after a previous start.

Schumaker takes step with field work

ST. LOUIS -- Skip Schumaker fielded groundballs on Friday, the first time he has done so since suffering a triceps injury in Los Angeles last weekend.

The Cardinals' second baseman is likely still looking at another two weeks or so, if not more, before he is able to return to active duty. But Friday marked a small step in his progress. He fielded balls hit off a fungo bat, then made light underhand tosses upon receiving the ball.

"Right now it's just [a matter of] keeping in shape, baseball shape," Schumaker said. "I don't feel anything just walking around. Certain movements you feel it more, trying to extend it and that type of thing. That's going to have to go away before I start hitting and throwing."

Club officials said from the start that Schumaker would likely miss more than the minimum 15 days required by his placement on the disabled list. Schumaker acknowledged the same on Friday.

"They told me 2-6 weeks," he said. "I'm hoping for two. I know it's not going to be two [weeks], because I've got another few days before I'm throwing," he said. "So it can't be two. I'm hoping it's right in the middle of that, three or four."

Baby birds

• Lance Lynn was the hard-luck loser for Triple-A Memphis on Thursday. Lynn allowed one run over seven innings in a 1-0 loss to Omaha. Matt Carpenter had two more hits as he continues to emerge from an early-season slump.

• Alex Castellanos homered in Double-A Springfield's 14-4 loss to Tulsa.

• Maikel Cleto fanned nine, but like Lynn was a hard-luck loser for Class A Palm Beach. Cleto allowed a run on four hits over five innings, walking one, in a 2-1 loss to Jupiter.

• Frederick Parejo homered, but Class A Quad Cities lost to Cedar Rapids, 4-3.

Lynn is the player of the day. He permitted four hits with four walks and five strikeouts as he dropped his ERA to 2.66. Lynn has struck out 14 against five walks on the year. The right-hander was a supplemental first-round pick by the Cardinals in the 2008 Draft.


• Manager Tony La Russa is improving in his recovery from conjunctivitis, or "pinkeye." La Russa can open his right eye partially, more than he was able to do earlier in the week.

• Daniel Descalso started at second base on Friday, the third different starter at that position in four games since Skip Schumaker was placed on the disabled list. It appears likely that mix-and-match will continue to be the Cardinals' course of action for the time being.

• Two days after pitching three innings, reliever Fernando Salas was still considered off-limits by the Cardinals on Friday night.

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.