Cards weigh whether to use Wainwright in relief

Cards weigh whether to use Wainwright in relief

Cards weigh whether to use Wainwright in relief
SAN FRANCISCO -- Due to scheduling, Game 4 starters Adam Wainwright and Tim Lincecum will not be available to make another start during this best-of-seven National League Championship Series.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy, however, has already announced that Lincecum will be considered a ready reliever for Game 6 and, if necessary, Game 7. The Cardinals are still mulling whether they'll make Wainwright similarly available out of the bullpen.

"We're still talking about that," manager Mike Matheny said, shortly after landing in San Francisco on Saturday. "But nothing is in stone right now."

Wainwright pitched seven innings in St. Louis' 8-3 win over the Giants on Thursday. That means he will have had two days off leading into Game 6 and three days of rest if the series extends to seven games. Wainwright would normally throw a side session in the bullpen two or three days after a start, so having him pitch an inning in relief on that day would simply take the place of that pregame work.

The Cardinals, however, have to consider Wainwright's already-heavy workload in his first year back from Tommy John surgery. They also have to ensure that he'd be in the best position possible to start early in the World Series, should the team advance.

"You hate to ever push somebody, just like throwing a [Chris] Carpenter on short rest," Matheny said. "Every time you put a guy in a situation that's a little different than what he's used to and he's had some sort of extra issues, especially health issues, you're going to take more time in your decision. So we're just going to watch him close and see where we are and make those decisions as they come. There's no rush right now."