Notes: Branyan joins club in St. Louis
Former Phillie to provide depth at third; Cairo added to roster
ST. LOUIS -- The big league life is not always glamorous. Russell Branyan, acquired from Philadelphia in exchange for a player to be named, couldn't get a flight that made sense on Friday, so he got in a car and drove from Nashville to Busch Stadium.
Branyan was designated for assignment by the Phillies on Monday when Philadelphia activated Chase Utley from the disabled list. He'll provide depth at third base, where the Cardinals are doing without Scott Rolen and Scott Spiezio.
"He's got a lot of experience," said manager Tony La Russa. "He's got extra-base pop. And he plays third base ... he does a reasonable job there."
Branyan has an unusual set of skills, but he's an effective offensive player. He's hit 120 homers in 1,836 career big league at-bats and has a lifetime slugging percentage of .481 in the Majors.
St. Louis placed Rolen on the disabled list with shoulder trouble in order to activate Branyan. Rolen visited Dr. Tim Kremchek in Cincinnati on Friday.
Cairo arrives: With Branyan's acquisition uncertain until the trigger was pulled on the deal, Miguel Cairo arrived from Memphis on Friday. If Branyan had not been acquired, Cairo would have been added to the roster for infield insurance. Instead, Cairo will be added on Friday.
After the Yankees let him go, Cairo was thrilled to get a call from St. Louis.
"I was just hoping to come back here," he said. "I spent two and a half years here, so I was hoping. It came through and I'm just glad to be back."
Cairo offers depth at every infield position, and La Russa said the veteran is not even limited to those four spots.
"I'm trying to think of a spot I wouldn't play him," the manager said. "Including catcher."
Mulder update: With a rehab start scheduled at Triple-A Memphis on Friday night, Mark Mulder may be only five or six days away from his return to Major League action. That's not set in stone yet, however.
"There's a possibility, if he keeps moving forward, that he could pitch in that Pittsburgh series," La Russa said. "But if he needs more [time], he gets more. He knows more what he is like and what he feels than anybody.
"You put the whole thing together. Does he feel like he has a chance to compete at the Major League level?"
The Cards' current inclination seems to be to go to a six-man rotation, at least in the short term, once Mulder is added.
Moves and more moves: The Cardinals expect to make some additions to their roster on Saturday, when active rosters may expand to as many as 40 players. However, some moves will wait until after the Triple-A season on Monday.
In addition to Cairo, the Cardinals will almost certainly add Skip Schumaker on Saturday, and possibly another infielder such as Brian Barden. Edgar Gonzalez is not expected to get the call. Mike Maroth and Brad Thompson are among those whose recalls will likely wait another few days.
Kozma promoted: Shortstop Pete Kozma, the Cardinals' first pick in this year's Draft, was promoted to short-season Batavia on Thursday. Drafted out of an Oklahoma high school, Kozma made a brief pro debut in the Gulf Coast League before being moved up to the more advanced Appalachian League.
He hit .264 with a .350 on-base percentage and 10 extra-base hits in 106 at-bats for Johnson City. When the Appalachian League season ended, Kozma was promoted to Batavia of the New York-Penn League.
This date in Cardinals history: On Aug. 31, 2005, Hector Luna missed the cycle by a single in a 10-5 Cardinals win over the Marlins at Dolphin Stadium. Luna doubled, tripled and homered as St. Louis built a 10-0 lead before holding on for the win.
Baby 'Birds: Mike Smith struck out seven, doubled twice and scored twice in Triple-A Memphis' 5-3 win over Iowa. Chris Perez struck out two and didn't walk a batter in recording the save. ... Mitchell Boggs pitched eight shutout innings and was backed by homers from Jose Martinez and Rico Washington in Double-A Springfield's 8-0 win over Wichita. ... Class A Palm Beach kept its extremely slim playoff hopes alive with a 4-1 win over Brevard County. Stuart Pomeranz pitched five strong innings (two hits, one run, four strikeouts, no walks) and Mark Shorey and Isa Garcia each homered. ... Class A Quad Cities saw its magic number for a playoff spot remain at one when it lost to Peoria, 3-1. Clayton Mortensen was brilliant, pitching five shutout innings with a hit, a walk and four strikeouts, but received a no-decision. Kozma was 0-for-3 in his Batavia debut and the Muckdogs lost to Jamestown, 5-0. ... The season is over for both rookie-level Johnson City and the Gulf Coast League Cardinals.
Boggs is the choice as player of the day. He allowed two hits and three walks, striking out five, to move to 11-7 with a 3.84 ERA on the year. The 23-year-old Georgia Bulldog was a fifth-round Draft pick in 2005.
Coming up: The Cardinals will be hoping that Adam Wainwright's roll continues on Saturday evening. Wainwright will face Reds left-hander Phil Dumatrait at Busch Stadium at 6:15 p.m. CT.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.