From St. Louis Post Dispatch
Izzy done? Bad hip could end his season
PHOENIX — Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen will not pitch in this weekend's series against Arizona, and he expects to miss at least the next week as he attempts to alleviate pain and inflammation in his left hip that is at the root of his inconsistency.
Isringhausen blew his 10th save of the season Wednesday in Washington, and he alerted the team afterward that his problems with an arthritic hip have increased to a point that he can no longer pitch effectively through the injury.
"It's just gradually gotten worse and worse," Isringhausen said Thursday, when he marked his 34th birthday by getting treatment. "I've never had this much problem with my control. The other day (Wednesday), I had no idea where the ball was going.
"It's frustrating because even the outings when I don't give up runs it seems I really struggle to get my three outs," Isringhausen continued. "Just my body makes it hard to get three outs consistently."
The Cardinals will attack the inflammation in his left hip over the weekend and hope that it helps return stability to the joint, which takes the brunt of his delivery as he lands his plant foot. The closer will meet with the team physician, Dr. George Paletta, on Monday, when Isringhausen said he expects to get a cortisone shot. At the least, he will need a couple of days for the cortisone to take effect. Other options, such as surgery now or after the season, will also be discussed.
Similarly, the Cardinals are weighing their ninth-inning options.
In Isringhausen's absence, the Cardinals have two likely candidates to handle his closing responsibility. Righthander Braden Looper has been a closer for both Florida and the New York Mets, and when he signed with the Cardinals, the club indicated he could develop into Isringhausen's heir. Looper has recently aced his setup role, getting eight wins in relief, but he continues to work on his effectiveness against lefties. The Cardinals would not shy from using matchups to dictate the ninth, said manager Tony La Russa.
Rookie Adam Wainwright, the more likely of the two to handle the closing job, has been the club's stingiest reliever. He leads the team with 16 holds -- and holds are assessed by the same rules as save situations, but they apply to middle innings.
"I feel a little more comfortable with Wainwright (against lefties) because he's got more things that he can do to get a lefthander out," pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "He does all the things that you look for in a late-game pitcher. He warms up quick. He doesn't really get excited. The ingredients are all there."
Still not enough to go on. Wainwright or Looper anyone?