Cardinals' Mulder throws six strong innings in second rehab start

Monday, April 21, 2008

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals left-hander Mark Mulder, trying to come back from two shoulder operations, pitched six scoreless innings for Class AA Springfield on Sunday in his second rehabilitation outing.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, while impressed with Mulder's outing from a numbers standpoint, said it's far too soon to discuss what to do about the rotation when he's ready. Mulder made his first start for Class A Palm Beach and could make his third start on for Class AAA Memphis, but could need two more outings to show the team he's ready.

Mulder allowed three hits, walked three and struck out one, and needed only 76 pitches while facing Tulsa. He also picked off two runners at first.

"When somebody gets really close is when you think about it, because otherwise you're just wasting your time," La Russa said. "Nobody knows what the circumstances are going to be when any of those guys come back.

"Things change daily here, and if you've got nothing else to think about and you want to waste your time you can do it."

Mulder has been limited to 20 starts in the majors over the last two seasons. He could rejoin the St. Louis rotation after one more rehab start, although the team could elect to have him make a fourth rehab start.

He made only three starts last year before undergoing a second surgery in September, going 0-3 with a 12.27 ERA, and was 6-7 with a 7.14 ERA in 2006.

Before 2006, Mulder won 15 or more games five consecutive seasons for Oakland and St. Louis.

He's one of three front-line starters expected to join the team at some point this season. Matt Clement is rehabbing from shoulder surgery in 2006 and Chris Carpenter, the 2005 NL Cy Young award winner, is expected back in July after reconstructive elbow surgery in July 2007.

La Russa said both Mulder and Carpenter would rejoin the rotation when they're ready, and that neither would be considered for relief roles.

-- AP

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