Manager Tony La Russa confirmed on Tuesday that St. Louis will carry 12 pitchers on its 25-man roster, which must be set by noon CT on Wednesday. And since La Russa said on Monday that Troy Glaus will be part of the postseason roster and Khalil Greene will not, that means the 13 hitters are set.
It's far from ideal to carry 12 pitchers on the roster for a five-game playoff series with two off-days, but the Cardinals did not feel they had a viable alternative once they chose to leave Greene off the roster. To have a 14th hitter, they would have either needed to carry Greene, who scarcely played at all down the stretch, or have a player physically unable to play, allowing them to broaden the pool of available players.
None of the 28 players from the Cards' playoff pool are hurt, so to declare a player physically unable to play would have required some bending of the truth.
"Our preference was 14-11, but in our pool, somebody would have had to been hurt, that was hurt, to allow us to add the player," La Russa said. "As it turned out, integrity is a great big part of this game. So the disabled thing wasn't an issue, we went with 13 and 12. I think we all [would] love to have that extra player.
"But in the end, one thing we did reason through is that there was a lot of our season -- I haven't bothered to look, is it 30 percent, 40 percent? -- we went with 13 pitchers and 12 players. So we've gone with four bench players in one game. So five seems to me like a good number. Six would be better. But that's the way it is."
At least 10 of the pitching spots would seem to be settled, leaving only a couple of decisions regarding the final two right-handed relievers on the roster. Those spots are likely to be up for grabs between four pitchers: Blake Hawksworth, Todd Wellemeyer, Brad Thompson and Mitchell Boggs.
The 13 position players will be: catchers Yadier Molina and Jason LaRue, infielders Albert Pujols, Skip Schumaker, Brendan Ryan, Mark DeRosa, Julio Lugo, Joe Thurston and Glaus, and outfielders Matt Holliday, Ryan Ludwick, Colby Rasmus and Rick Ankiel.
Among the pitchers certain to be on the roster are Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Joel Pineiro, Kyle Lohse, John Smoltz, Ryan Franklin, Kyle McClellan, Jason Motte, Trever Miller and Dennys Reyes. La Russa once again refrained on Tuesday from naming his Game 4 starter. It will either be Smoltz or Lohse, and the Cardinals probably will not reveal who it is until the day before that game.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.