Cardinals manager Tony La Russa stared at the typewritten sheet that trainer Barry Weinberg handed him well after Sunday's game at Busch Stadium had ended and said, "That non-displaced stuff is killing us."
First, it was the non-displaced fracture that catcher Yadier Molina suffered when hit by a pitch in Arizona. He hasn't played for over two weeks. But worse Sunday came the news that left fielder Reggie Sanders had suffered a non-displaced hairline fracture of the fibula in his right leg, the result of a collision with center fielder Jim Edmonds on Friday night.
Dr. George Paletta, head of the Cardinals' medical staff, estimated Sanders would be lost four to six weeks, in effect taking him almost to Sept. 1. Sanders had been among the most consistent and productive of Cardinals this season, batting .281 with 18 homers, 44 runs batted in and 14 stolen bases as he approached the career marks of 300 steals and 300 home runs, something only four players have achieved.
The Cardinals will promote lefthanded-hitting John Rodriguez, a 27-year-old former New York Yankees and Cleveland farmhand from Memphis. Rodriguez had 17 homers for Memphis, including one Sunday, and 47 runs batted in with just 120 at-bats while batting .342. Rodriguez had been acquired a little more than a month ago in a minor league deal with Buffalo (with catcher Javier Cordona going to the Indians' minor league affiliate), where Rodriguez had been hitting only .247 with five homers and 23 RBIs in 178 at-bats.
La Russa said that the lefthanded-hitting Rodriguez, 6 feet and 185 pounds, can play all three outfield positions. A Yankees farmhand until this year, Rodriguez had 101 minor league home runs and hit .270 from 1997 to 2004.
La Russa said there was "a chance" he would play Rodriguez tonight here against the Milwaukee Brewers. Rodriguez had been slugging at a .795 clip at Memphis.
Regarding Sanders, La Russa said: "You've got to roll with the punches. Sometimes you wish they wouldn't take those pictures. Then you'd never know what was wrong."
Paletta said, "I've seen lots of X-rays I wish I hadn't seen."
Sanders stopped by to see Paletta after Saturday's game and told him his ankle was bothering him - Sanders also had suffered a bruised left rib in the accident.
"What he said in hindsight was that his ankle was sore but he was focused more on his ribs and thought the ankle was just a bruise," Paletta said. "I told him if it was still sore (Sunday morning), we'd X- ray it. He's got a small hairline fracture directly above the plate that's in his leg from where he fractured his ankle in 1989.
"In 1989, they put a plate and seven screws in his ankle. The plate is still in there, but he cracked (his fibula) just at the top of the plate, through the uppermost screw hole."
Paletta said there was little upside to Sanders' injury other than that "it's an incomplete fracture, so it doesn't need an operation. It should heal well on its own, but bones generally take four to six weeks to heal."
Sanders had left the clubhouse before the latest diagnosis was revealed.
Want an easy icon?
All you have to do is beat a few guys at picking Sunday's winners.[/url]