10/08/06 8:17 PM ET
Notes: Rolen out of Cardinals' lineup
Third baseman still bothered by shoulder injury
By Matthew Leach / MLB.com
Scott Spiezio got the start in place of Rolen for Game 4 of the best-of-five National League Division Series against the Padres. Rolen went 1-for-11 over the first three games.
"After the game [Saturday], he went to the training staff and the doctor and said, 'I haven't been as in shape to play as I've been telling everybody,'" said manager Tony La Russa.
Rolen has battled discomfort in his shoulder for much of the past month. He batted .227 with a .299 on-base percentage and .398 slugging percentage in September, after roaring through the season's first four months. He is considered available to play defense if needed, but likely would not pinch-hit.
"I'm a pretty stubborn person," Rolen said. "The hope was I would just outlast this thing and things would get better. I took a lot of swings at the end of the season trying to get in a good spot. Whether that helped or hurt, I don't know."
Rolen was examined following Saturday afternoon's game by Dr. George Paletta, the Cardinals' head team physician. Paletta recommended that Rolen receive anti-inflammatory medication, though the six-time Gold Glover did not take a cortisone shot.
"How I feel is, I can play," Rolen said. "I'm ready to play. I want to play every game. I want to be in there every game. I don't want to miss any games. I'm not taking myself out of the lineup. I'm not saying I need a rest. I don't need a day off. I'm not saying any of that. I'm letting you know that I'm doing the best I can, but I realized I had poor at-bats [Saturday]. I didn't have competitive at-bats."
In May of 2005, Rolen injured his shoulder in a collision with then-Dodgers first baseman Hee-Seop Choi. Following an initial operation, he returned after about six weeks but struggled. He finally shut it down for the year in July and underwent a second surgery in August.
Rolen came out playing well to start the 2006 season, but grew more fatigued and endured more pain as the year wound down. He has played 145 games between the regular season and the playoffs.
"Down the stretch in September, I lied to everybody for the most part," Rolen said. "I was scuffling a little bit. But I thought I had a responsibility. I had to be accountable and I had to be in the lineup every day. I feel like that's what I needed to do to be on this team."
Wilson starts: In another lineup switch, La Russa went with Preston Wilson, taking the place of Chris Duncan in left field and in the No. 2 spot in the batting order.
Duncan struggled defensively on Saturday, but La Russa indicated after the game that a switch would be for offensive reasons. Padres starter Woody Williams had a reverse split this year, with right-handed hitters hitting him better than left-handed hitters. With both Wilson and So Taguchi at his disposal, La Russa went with the power threat.
"Preston brings energy and some potential extra-base pop, plus baserunning," La Russa said. "We just chose to go with him."
Weaver to start: La Russa confirmed that if the Division Series goes to a fifth game in San Diego on Monday, Jeff Weaver will start the game on short rest. Weaver remained with the team in St. Louis on Sunday rather than flying ahead.
The manager acknowledged that the team toyed briefly with the idea of holding out ace Chris Carpenter for either a fifth game or the first game of the next round, but dismissed the notion fairly quickly. The Cards held Carpenter out of the final game of the season, using him in Game 1 of the Division Series and again in Game 4 on Sunday night.
"Was there a consideration? Yeah, I thought about it a little bit," La Russa said. "It's a different set of circumstances. There's a lot of different reasons why today is different from last Sunday."
Weaver will travel along with his teammates on Monday, wherever the Cards go. The club made no plans to fly to San Diego on Sunday night -- partly as a motivational tactic, and partly due to late-night travel restrictions at San Diego's airport.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.