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Notes: Cedeno might start10/16/2004 12:23 AM ET
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- Wisely accepting the old adage of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," the Cardinals have trotted out the same eight offensive players in each of their six games in the postseason. On Saturday, that may change for the first time.
Roger Cedeno is a strong candidate to get a start in left field over Reggie Sanders, due to Cedeno's career record of success against scheduled Houston starter Roger Clemens. Cedeno is 10-for-23 (.435) with three doubles and six walks against the future Hall of Famer, while Sanders is 1-for-5.
"I'm thinking about it," manager Tony La Russa said. "It's something to think about."
Cedeno has no explanation for his success against the hard-throwing right-hander, not to mention against other stars like Kerry Wood and Ben Sheets. He wasn't even aware of it until he started playing for La Russa, a highly matchup-minded skipper.
"Believe it or not, I didn't really start to look at it until this year," Cedeno said. "Before, I never saw how I hit somebody. I never took a look at it."
However, one day he found himself in the lineup with Sheets pitching for the other team, and Edgar Renteria pointed out the reason. Cedeno will be taking a close look at the lineup card when he arrives at the park on Saturday afternoon.
"But I take a look at it anyway, every day," he said with a smile. "Just in case."
Big step for Carp: Chris Carpenter is expected to take a significant step forward next week in his rehabilitation from an irritated nerve in his right arm. If the right-hander's progress stays on track, he will throw off a mound on Wednesday. It would be his first bullpen session since he was removed from a Sept. 18 game against Arizona.
Carpenter played catch again on Friday at Minute Maid Park, throwing from a distance of approximately 75 feet.
"I think he's very positive," said trainer Barry Weinberg. "I think it's a big step and he's very optimistic that he will overcome the condition he's had. The nerve is now [firing to] the biceps almost completely. Today he had a really good [throwing session]."
The team remains on the pessimistic side when it comes to Carpenter's potential availability for this season, however. He would be eligible to be activated for the World Series, should the Cardinals make it that far, but it appears unlikely. The World Series starts Saturday, Oct. 23.
"Eventually we run out of time," Weinberg said. "We run out of days. There's a difference between throwing off a mound and throwing in a game. And then, you're throwing in a World Series game. I don't think that's the kind of game where you try to get someone some innings just for fun."
Simulated game: The Cards have been carrying something of a "taxi squad" since the beginning of the playoffs, a group of players who are trying to keep sharp in case they're needed to replace an injured player. None of the non-roster players can be activated in the middle of a series, but if St. Louis were to decide to deactivate a player from the roster for the World Series, they'd have players ready.
Those players participated in two innings worth of a simulated game during the workout on Friday. Left-hander Randy Flores and righty Al Reyes threw to a group of hitters that included catcher Cody McKay, infielder Bo Hart and outfielder Ray Lankford. Flores said it was his second such simulated action since the regular season ended, and he has also thrown a number of bullpen sessions.
"It helps to make that walk from the bullpen to the game mound, and to have their swings tell you how you're doing rather than the catcher or the bullpen coach," he said. "Hitters tell you if your stuff is working. They're trying to get work, too, because they haven't seen live pitching. So we help each other out. Nothing can simulate real game action, but this is the closest you can do without the crowd into it."
A night at home: Rather than traveling immediately after Thursday night's Game 2, the Cardinals waited until Friday to make the trip down to Houston. Players arrived at the ballpark in Houston still wearing their dressy travel clothes and toting their carry-on bags from the charter flight.
"We've done it before," La Russa said. "I think most clubs would choose this. You get a chance to go home and sleep in your own bed. Otherwise, you get here at 3 or 4 in the morning."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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