ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal reiterated his desire to remain in St. Louis on Friday, though of course, it's never that simple.Furcal can be a free agent when the season ends, and in a market lacking shortstops, he could be in demand. But he said prior to Game 5 of the National League Championship Series that he's happy in St. Louis and would like to be back.
"Who wouldn't want to play for the St. Louis Cardinals?" Furcal said. "Not because we're in the playoffs. Always when I came here with Atlanta, we came in with the Dodgers, I played those guys, it was one of those things. Always a big competition. I love it here. I love the fans and the players, everybody is on the same page. Everybody wants to win. And who wouldn't want to play for one of the best managers in all of baseball?"
The Cardinals have at least some motivation to re-up Furcal, given the uncertainty as to whether Tyler Greene can be an everyday player and the paucity of other options on the market. That doesn't mean a deal will get done, but there is mutual interest.
Berkman batting cleanup in return to lineup
ST. LOUIS -- After handing his position over to Allen Craig for one night, Lance Berkman returned to the Cardinals' lineup for Game 5 of the National League Championship Series on Friday. Berkman will take his regular position in right field and bat in the cleanup spot for the first time since Game 1 of this series.
Berkman has been dealing with some right thigh soreness since being struck by a Takashi Saito pitch in the seventh inning of Game 3. The discomfort is minimal enough, though, that manager Tony La Russa had no qualms about inserting his All-Star outfielder behind Albert Pujols in the batting order.
"He could have played [Thursday]," La Russa noted. "It's just a bruise, so it's sore. I'll venture to say that of the 16 position players, they all are sore."
Berkman did make an appearance in Game 4, singling as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of a 4-2 loss. His absence from Thursday's starting lineup had to do both with the bruised thigh and that the Brewers were sending left-hander Randy Wolf to the mound.
With the Brewers' rotation set to feature right-handed starters for the remainder of the series, Berkman is expected to be Pujols' protection the rest of the way. Berkman, who hit .301 during the regular season, has four hits in his first 11 NLCS at-bats against Milwaukee. All have been singles.
Schumaker named to participate in Taiwan tour
ST. LOUIS -- Skip Schumaker will be participating in a Major League Baseball tour of Taiwan next month. Unless he's not.
Schumaker, recovering from a strained right oblique muscle, is not on the Cardinals' roster for the National League Championship Series because of that injury. He's recovering, and in fact has begun taking some swings, but his physical condition remains enough of a question that his participation in the Taiwan tour is in doubt.
"That remains to be seen," Schumaker said. "If I can't play right now, then I'm not sure I'm going to go to Taiwan. So I've got to make sure that I'm 100 percent."
Schumaker is excited at the chance to go, if he's able. The trip is set for Nov. 1-6 and will include MLB stars such as Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano and perhaps Miguel Cabrera.
"For them to even consider me is a really cool deal," he said. "What an experience. Some of the places I've been lucky enough to go to, Cuba and Venezuela, I'm very blessed to be able to go to some of these different countries that I would never have been to. It would be a great experience, but hopefully we get to the World Series, and I'll have to ... I'll debate it if we go to the World Series, just because it's so close and I'm coming off an injury. So I'm not sure how it's going to happen."
La Russa moved Berkman back into the No. 4 spot in the lineup and kept Matt Holliday fifth, as expected, for Friday night's game. David Freese and Yadier Molina also switched places relative to where they were in the Cards' last game against a right-hander. Freese moved up to the No. 6 position, while Molina dropped to seventh.
La Russa said he did not intend to use Edwin Jackson or Chris Carpenter in relief prior to their scheduled starts in Games 6 and 7 of the NLCS, respectively.
The Cardinals will once again travel on the workout day, on Saturday, rather than flying immediately after Friday night's game.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.