Cards to start Suppan
The Cardinals signed the
35-year-old Suppan on Monday and plan to start him tonight against Seattle. Brad Penny (upper back) might not return from the 15-day disabled list until the All-Star break and Kyle Lohse (forearm) is on the 60-day DL.
“It was a lot of emotions, and I was just going to wait and see what happened, to be honest with you,” Suppan said. “But I’m glad it worked out, and I’m very happy to be here.”
Suppan was cut by Milwaukee last week after going 0-2 with a 7.84 ERA, making only two starts to start the season before moving to the bullpen. He was MVP of the 2006 NL championship series while with the Cardinals and also was a member of the rotation that got swept by the Red Sox in the ’04 World Series, posting career-best 16-win seasons in ’04 and ’05.
Suppan’s first game in his return to the Cardinals, also his first start since Game 4 of the ’06 World Series, will be at home against the Mariners. He was issued uniform number 37, the same as he wore in his first stint with the team.
Though he’s 135-137 for his career, the right-hander was 44-26 in three seasons with St. Louis. Manager Tony La Russa said Suppan got the thumbs-up from pitching coach Dave Duncan after a bullpen session during the weekend.
“The arm had life, and they were together for a long time,” La Russa said. “He could really give us a lift if he’s right.”
Suppan said he had trouble adjusting to pitching out of the bullpen with the Brewers, and altered his delivery over time.
“A lot of it was staying tall, which has always been a foundation for me,” he said. “I don’t know how I wasn’t doing it, but I guess it just kind of crept in there.
“So they were simple things that I felt very good about after just one bullpen.”
Former player Azocar dies
Former major leaguer Oscar Azocar, a free-swinging outfielder when he debuted for the New York Yankees in 1990, died Monday. He was 45.
The native Venezuelan died at a hospital in Valencia, said Diogenes Nazar, press spokesman for one of Azocar’s former teams, the Navegantes del Magallanes.
Azocar hit .226 with five home runs and 36 RBIs in a three-year career with the Yankees and San Diego Padres.
Strasburg NL Player of Week
More kudos for rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg: He’s the National League Player of the Week.
The Washington Nationals’ righty was given the honor Monday. He is 2-0 with 22 strikeouts and a 2.19 ERA in two major league starts.
The 22 strikeouts were the most in the majors last week. Only Karl Spooner of the 1954 Brooklyn Dodgers struck out more batters in his first two major league starts.
Strasburg has already supplied the Hall of Fame with a hat and a ball from his major league debut. He’s also read the Top 10 list on the “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
Strasburg beat Cleveland on Sunday despite walking five batters. He is next scheduled to pitch on Friday against the Chicago White Sox.