ST. LOUIS -- A dearth of available pitching has led the Cardinals to reverse course on Adam Ottavino.
Initially, the club had hoped that Ottavino would not pitch the remainder of the season, preferring to rest him rather than risk a setback in his recovery from a shoulder injury. However, with the club short on available relievers, Ottavino was activated from the disabled list on Wednesday. He threw a simulated game on Tuesday and likely will not pitch before Saturday.
"I felt really good [this morning]," Ottavino said. "I wasn't expecting to feel bad, but I'm pleasantly surprised that it's even better than that."
Manager Tony La Russa had been extremely reluctant to activate Ottavino, but is concerned about how many innings his pitching staff can cover over the season's final five days.
"It's really a push, but even an inning or two, if you used him right, might help us win a game," La Russa said.
La Russa gives stars Wednesday off
ST. LOUIS -- It was the Reds who clinched a division championship on Tuesday night, but the Cardinals' lineup on Wednesday looked an awful lot like one you might see the morning after a celebration.
That's not entirely a coincidence. Manager Tony La Russa chose to rest several regulars for the first game after St. Louis was eliminated from playoff contention, including Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Skip Schumaker.
"The big thing with Schu and Matt and Albert is that it's the first day you come to the park since the first day of the season that you're out of it," La Russa said. "And it's immediately after you lost last night. So mentally, it's just the recognition; you just give them a day."
Over the season's final four games, though, La Russa expects to field representative lineups. He does not view the final five games as an audition period.
"If we'd gotten to early September and we were out of it, then you can look to the future," La Russa said. "But we've got five games. Albert's going to play. I'll play him, for sure, [and] maybe Matt three out of the four against Colorado.
"If somebody comes up sore, [that's another matter]. But mostly, we've got five chances to win a game."
Miles making mark on pitching history
ST. LOUIS -- Aaron Miles is closing in on some history.
With Miles' fifth pitching appearance on Tuesday, he moved further up the ladder for games pitched by non-pitchers. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that's the second-highest total in the past 40 years, behind only Vance Law, who pitched eight innings over seven games.
Miles has a total of five innings in his five appearances, allowing two runs on five hits for a 3.60 ERA. He has never struck out or walked a batter.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, the only other non-pitcher who never started a game and has as many pitching appearances since 1900 is Eddie Lake, who pitched 19 1/3 innings over six games for the 1944 Red Sox.
Albert Pujols' walk on Tuesday night gave him 100 for the season, making him the first player in franchise history with three consecutive 100-walk campaigns. He's now tied with Stan Musial as the only players in Cardinals history with three career 100-walk seasons. ... Seven of the nine players who started for the Cardinals on Wednesday spent at least some time at Triple-A Memphis this season, and eight of the nine played somewhere in the Cardinals' Minor League system this year. ... Pujols entered Wednesday's game with the National League lead in RBIs at 117. If he holds on, it will be the first time in his Major League career that he has led the NL in RBIs.
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.