05/01/11 1:24 PM ET
After great game, Laird watches brother thrive
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
Brandon Laird is an infielder in the Yankees' organization. The Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees played at Gwinnett on Saturday night, not far from downtown Atlanta where the Cardinals are playing.
"I don't get to see him much, so it was nice to go up there and watch him," said the elder Laird. "He had two hits, had a double and a single. I took him out to dinner, hung out for a little bit and then got back to town."
The brothers live near each other in the offseason, but their schedules almost never intertwine during the year. It added up to just about a perfect day for Gerald Laird, who had the game-winning hit for the Cardinals in the afternoon before watching his brother have a strong game against one of baseball's top pitching prospects, Julio Teheran.
"I could tell he was starting to see the ball better, laying off some tough pitches," Gerald Laird said. "It was just nice to see him."
Cards content with closer committee for now
ATLANTA -- Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is no big fan of a "closer by committee" approach. But La Russa also knows that, as one of his favorite sayings goes, you do what you have to instead of what you want to.
So for the time being, the Cardinals have a committee in the ninth inning. Five different players have recorded saves for St. Louis this year, two more than any other club in the Majors. Since Ryan Franklin was removed from closing duties two weeks ago, four pitchers have combined for six saves.
It's not the manager's favorite arrangement, but he feels it works with the personnel the Cardinals currently have.
"I don't think you should ever force a guy into it just because you want to [have a designated closer]," La Russa said. "I think clearly if you had the closer and everybody else's roles were to set up that guy, there's a certainty there when you go into the game. But what you don't want to do is anoint one of those guys, say, 'OK, you're the guy,' [when he's not the right choice]."
Mitchell Boggs, Fernando Salas, Trever Miller and Eduardo Sanchez have all recorded saves since Franklin's duties changed. Jason Motte will also likely figure in at some point, and Miguel Batista could as well.
St. Louis in no rush to bring back Craig
ATLANTA -- Allen Craig is healthy and playing, but he may not be back with the Cardinals for another few days.
Craig, on the disabled list due to a strained left groin, has played two games on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment at Double-A Springfield. He's 0-for-6 with a walk and a sacrifice fly. His numbers don't concern the Cardinals, and the reports are that he's healthy. He is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Monday.
Even so, manager Tony La Russa feels that Craig might benefit from spending an extra few days at Springfield. Craig won't play regularly once he's activated.
"I don't think we've decided," La Russa said. "I just think we need to make sure he's in really good shape. I saw the report that he's feeling all right, but we just don't have enough information, and I'm not hurrying to get him back. For one thing, if he comes back and sits, that doesn't really help him get in shape."
Craig likely will be activated at some point on the Cardinals' weeklong homestand that begins Monday. It just may not be in the next couple of days.
Tony Cruz hit a grand slam and Matt Carpenter went 3-for-3 with a walk, leading Triple-A Memphis past Round Rock, 10-7, on Saturday. After a slow start to the season, Carpenter is 13-for-36 (.361) over his past 10 games, with two home runs, six walks and five strikeouts. On the year, he's batting .270 with a .402 on-base percentage.
Tommy Pham homered again, but Double-A Springfield lost to Tulsa, 3-2. Pham has four home runs in his last six games. Scott Schneider pitched six excellent innings, allowing one unearned run, four hits and no walks with six strikeouts.
Eric Fornataro was superb in Class A Palm Beach's 2-1 win against Bradenton.
Anthony Ferrara, though, topped the parade of strong starting pitching, tossing seven no-hit innings in Class A Quad Cities' 2-0 win against Cedar Rapids.
Ferrara thus is the player of the day. He struck out eight and walked one, making it back-to-back starts without allowing a run. Ferrara, 21, is 2-1 with a 2.38 ERA in four starts for Quad Cities this year, with 17 strikeouts, six walks and no home runs allowed in 22 2/3 innings. He was a seventh-round pick by the Cardinals in the 2008 Draft.
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.