08/05/11 7:28 PM ET
Molina, Laird clear air about disagreement
By David Villavicencio / Special to MLB.com
Catchers Yadier Molina and Gerald Laird got into a heated argument as they arrived at the team hotel, the Ritz Carlton in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Wednesday night.
On Thursday, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa held a closed-door meeting covering several topics, including Molina's five-game suspension and the incident between Molina and Laird.
"It was a long, hot day," La Russa said. "And when you talk about a long, hot day, there's frustration. But there wasn't anything. They hugged each other. They're friends. It's just one of those things that happens. It's a long trip. There was no fight. They just got into an argument a little bit."
Laird, who is filling in for Molina during his suspension, called it a misunderstanding and assured that the two catchers have put it behind them.
"I argued with some of my best friends growing up," Laird said. "When you spend so much time with someone, like this group of guys that's been together for eight months, you're going to have disagreements. That's all it was. It was a disagreement and nothing more. It's not like it's going to ruin anything.
"We're together every single day and it was a long day, a long game and travel day. Guys are tired and tensions flared a little bit, but that's all it was."
McClellan makes sacrifice, reacclimates to 'pen
MIAMI -- Typically when a starter is moved to the bullpen, it is because of ineffectiveness.
Kyle McClellan won seven games as a starter before the Cardinals acquired Edwin Jackson, but the former reliever was asked to return to the bullpen for the good of the team.
"Feelings were mixed," McClellan said. "I was physically and emotionally invested in starting. It's hard when you're that invested in something and you've got to switch back. But at the same time, I understand the situation."
The situation is that the Cardinals' bullpen has been in disarray for much of the season, with several relievers coming and going into different roles. McClellan was once one of St. Louis' top relievers before moving into the starting rotation, and manager Tony La Russa believes he can do that again this season.
"He's valuable because he pitches three innings or he can go in there and get one out or three outs or pitch the ninth," La Russa said. "He's a very valuable piece to the bullpen."
McClellan tossed three scoreless innings Thursday to earn his ninth win of the year. It was his second win since moving back to the bullpen, and he is already feeling comfortable with his new role.
"I feel like I can come in and pitch the ninth or come in and pitch in the first or the third," McClellan said. "There's a lot of different things I could do, which is nice. Eventually I'd like to settle into one kind of role so I can kind of prepare for it. But we're getting down to it where there is two months left in the season and you've got to do what's asked of you because every win right now is huge."
McClellan admits he was partial to starting, but he knows this is a sacrifice that the team needed him to make if the Cards want to reach their goal of making the postseason.
"You're on a championship-type club, and things are going to be expected of people that maybe they're not comfortable with or don't want to do, but if you want job security you can go play for a team that doesn't have a chance to win it," McClellan said. "We have a pretty good chance and I'll definitely trade that for having a chance to win."
Lohse looking for answers to struggles
MIAMI -- Kyle Lohse has not pitched as well as he would like lately.
The right-hander has not completed seven innings since he tossed eight frames in a loss to the Phillies on June 22. His latest outing was his shortest of the season, lasting just three innings in Thursday's 7-4 win over the Marlins.
"It wasn't the best night," Lohse said. "It was just one of those that you come out and you're not really sure what was going on. I'm at a loss for what happened. I'm not happy about it. I've got to get back to work and figure it out."
Lohse has been bothered by a finger injury this season, but he had not mentioned anything about it affecting his pitching lately.
"He did not say anything about his finger," manager Tony La Russa said. "His location was not so good on some of the pitches, but that happens. It was one of those things where guys were on him. Even when outs were made, they were hit hard. I thought we had a better chance to win going to the bullpen."
La Russa understands Lohse's frustration, but he feels the quick hook on Thursday was necessary.
"He's upset," La Russa said. "I'm sure he wants to pitch longer than he's pitching."
With Monday being an off-day, manager Tony La Russa is considering a shuffle of his rotation. Edwin Jackson is still scheduled to pitch on Tuesday against the Brewers, but Wednesday's and Thursday's starters have yet to be determined. ... David Freese saw the Miami Dolphins and Marlins team doctor Thursday night after being hit by a pitch and suffering a concussion. He was taking it easy on Friday with the hope of being cleared Saturday.
David Villavicencio is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.