Cards put Marrero on DL, bring back Robinson, Widger

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals placed outfielder and backup catcher Eli Marrero on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday to repair two torn ligaments in his right ankle, and called up two players to replace him.

Marrero had surgery early Tuesday and will be out at least two months, team physician Dr. George Paletta said. The Cardinals purchased the contract of catcher Chris Widger from Triple-A Memphis, recalled outfielder Kerry Robinson and optioned left-hander Kevin Ohme to Memphis.

St. Louis also transferred catcher Joe Girardi, out since spring training with a back injury, from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL. Girardi is eligible to be activated May 29.

Ohme was recalled for the second time this season May 2, but did not pitch in 10 games with the team.

"He'd been here and never pitched, so we felt like with the situation we're in we're better off with a position player," manager Tony La Russa said.

A 3-inch screw was inserted in Marrero's ankle during the surgery to hold the tibia and fibula together, allowing the ligaments to reattach to the bones. He'll be on crutches at least three weeks.

"If things go according to plan and he's feeling well, we'll take the screw out in 6-8 weeks," Paletta said. "Then it depends on how quickly he progresses from there.

"The best-case scenario is eight weeks."

Paletta said Marrero will be able to play the outfield before he's able to catch, because of the pressure on the ankle caused by squatting.

"He probably plays the worst position for this type of injury," Paletta said.

Robinson began the season with the Cardinals, batting .226 with two RBIs in 31 at-bats before being optioned to Memphis on May 2. He chafed at the part-time role in St. Louis but thrived as the everyday leadoff man at Triple-A, hitting .364 with three steals in three attempts.

"I went down there to regain my swing I had a few years ago," Robinson said. "I really didn't think about these guys and what they were doing and trying to get back."

Robinson said he thought the Cardinals did the right thing when he was demoted.

"You don't ever really want to say you want to leave the big leagues, but that was kind of the best-case scenario right there," he said.

Widger was the everyday catcher in Memphis, batting .232 in 18 games with no homers and six RBIs. La Russa said Widger probably would get his first start Thursday, a day game after a night game.

"I've always liked his style," La Russa said. "He's very competitive."

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