Izturis injury causes shuffle

Izturis injury causes shuffle

MILWAUKEE -- Cesar Izturis came out of the Cardinals' Tuesday afternoon game against the Brewers after he was hit by a pitch, necessitating some drastic shuffling. It may also lead to some roster shuffling before the Cardinals' next game.

Leading off the ninth inning, Izturis was hit below the right elbow by a pitch from Eric Gagne. He remained on the ground for a few minutes, clearly in pain, but stayed in the game to run the bases. However, when the bottom of the ninth commenced, Izturis did not take his position.

"It's sore," Izturis said after the game. "It's swollen. We're going to see how I feel tomorrow."

In the immediate term, Izturis' injury put the Cardinals in a difficult spot. The club is playing with 13 pitchers and only four bench players. Rick Ankiel had already come in the game for Brian Barton. Chris Duncan and Adam Kennedy had already pinch-hit, and neither stayed in the game. That left only Yadier Molina on the bench.

So manager Tony La Russa called on Molina to catch, moved catcher Jason LaRue to first base, Albert Pujols from first to second, and Aaron Miles from second to shortstop. Pujols had never previously played second base in a Major League regular-season game.

"I told Tony I wanted to play shortstop, and he told me he preferred for me to go to second so that I don't have to make that long throw," Pujols said. "I was like, that's fine. But it's something that you don't want to do every day."

The club does not expect Izturis to be able to play for at least a day or two, though a disabled list stint is considered unlikely. Still, with only two available middle infielders currently on the roster, it's almost certain that someone will be brought in for Wednesday's game in Pittsburgh.

Most likely, that someone is Brendan Ryan, who has been at Double-A Springfield on a rehabilitation assignment. Ryan sustained a muscle strain in his rib cage on March 17 and has been playing well recently on his rehab.

If it is determined on Wednesday that Izturis' condition is a day-to-day matter, the Cardinals are expected to send a pitcher to the Minors -- quite possibly right-hander Brad Thompson. If Izturis will be out longer than a few days, he could go on the disabled list to make room for Ryan.

"We'll know more in a day or two, but obviously [Izturis] wasn't able to stay in the game," said general manager John Mozeliak. "They feel like possibly the nerve is compressed. The move will be dictated on how he looks tomorrow."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.