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Duncan begins suspension
HOUSTON -- St. Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan on Friday started serving a four-game suspension for his part in a scuffle during batting practice last month in Pittsburgh.
Duncan will miss the three-game series at Houston, and Monday's home game against the Chicago Cubs.
"It's a factor. He's a big part of the defensive side, how we get outs," manager Tony La Russa said. "We have to take the same attitude we've taken for when players are missing. You concentrate on who's participating, not who's missing."
Duncan, who conducted pregame meetings with the pitchers, said he didn't want to comment. There isn't an appeal process for coaches or managers.
Pittsburgh hitting coach Gerald Perry was suspended for eight games and Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon drew a one-game suspension for escalating the shoving match, which broke out before the Cardinals' 8-3 victory over the Pirates on Aug. 24. Perry and Duncan had to be restrained by players.
The three were also fined an undisclosed amount.
La Russa said the Cardinals filed a report, but didn't get a chance to answer any questions or seek a reduction in the suspension.
Walker leaves early
Cardinals right fielder Larry Walker left Friday night's game against the Houston Astros with recurring neck pain.
Walker missed 26 games because of a herniated disc in his neck before returning from the disabled list on Aug. 20.
The Cardinals purchased the contract of left-hander Tyler Johnson from Class AAA Memphis on Friday.
Johnson was drafted by the Cardinals in 2000, but was a Rule 5 draft selection by Oakland last December. The Athletics returned Johnson to St. Louis at the end of spring training after he had a 10.80 ERA.
At Memphis, Johnson was 2-1 with seven saves in 57 games. His 77 strikeouts led Redbirds relievers, and was second in the PCL for pitchers without any starts.
-- From wire reports