In five games on the Cards' current homestand entering Sunday, their relievers have pitched 21 2/3 innings. Josh Hancock tossed 4 1/3 on Saturday. So for the short term, St. Louis will carry a 13-man pitching staff -- a situation that is not expected to last very long.
"Not long at all," La Russa said before the game. "It could get solved immediately if [Jason] Marquis gives us a quality game, and Anthony [Reyes] and [Chris Carpenter] after that."
Perez went 6-for-25 (.240) with a home run in 18 games in St. Louis.
Ponson slated for start: For the time being, Sidney Ponson is the Cardinals' scheduled starter for Thursday's game in Houston. Ponson struggled through 2 2/3 innings on Saturday, the second time in three starts that he didn't make it to the fifth inning.
Asked about Ponson's status with the club, La Russa said simply: "Sidney pitches Thursday."
Perez debuts in relief: Chris Perez, the Cardinals' second pick in last month's draft (supplemental first round, No. 42 overall selection), made his professional debut on Saturday for Class A Quad Cities of the Midwest League. The right-hander from the University of Miami allowed a hit but no runs, striking out a batter and not issuing a walk.
Perez, who closed for the Hurricanes, is expected to pitch in relief for the time being.
This date in Cardinals history: On July 2, 1960, a promising young right-hander named Bob Gibson beat the Milwaukee Braves and Warren Spahn, who was closing in on 300 wins. For Gibson, who went the distance in the 7-1 victory, it was career win No. 4. Stan Musial and Bill White each drove in two runs in the win. Thanks to Project Retrosheet for the information.
Baby 'Birds: Travis Smith pitched a fine game and was bolstered by a John Nelson home run as Memphis beat Albuquerque, 3-2, on Saturday. Smith allowed a run on six hits, walking two and striking out one. ... Mark Worrell gave up three runs in the ninth as Double-A Springfield lost, 6-4, to Wichita. Juan Richardson went 3-for-3 with two RBIs. ... Class A Palm Beach got a game-ending RBI single from Juan Lucena in the 10th to beat Jupiter, 2-1. Amaury Marti went 3-for-4 and Mitchell Boggs pitched six shutout innings. ... Jon Jay had two more hits and Bryan Anderson reached base three times and drove in two, but Quad Cities lost, 6-2, to South Bend. ... Rhett Parrott's rehab rolled on with five fine innings (two hits, no runs, one walk, three Ks) in short-season State College's 7-1 win over Batavia. Mark Hamilton put up his fifth multi-hit performance in 11 professional games. ... Jonathan Edwards had two more hits, but rookie-level Johnson City was shut out by Elizabethton, 5-0.
Despite his no-decision, Boggs is the player of the day. The right-hander out of the University of Georgia allowed five runs and two walks, striking out four. Boggs, a fifth-round pick in last year's draft, is 6-3 with a 3.12 ERA, 69 Ks, 30 walks and three homers allowed in 80 2/3 innings in 2006.
Coming up: The Cardinals open a seven-game road trip on Monday night in Atlanta. Anthony Reyes goes for win No. 2 against John Smoltz, with game time at Turner Field scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CT.