Cards to determine Wacha's postseason role

Right-hander may be option out of club's bullpen if not in starting rotation

Cards to determine Wacha's postseason role

PHOENIX -- A day after Michael Wacha made his last audition for a postseason role in October, the Cardinals remained undecided as to how Wacha will fit into those playoff plans.

"I haven't drawn any conclusions about that at this point," general manager John Mozeliak said before Saturday's game against the D-backs. "I'll sit down with [manager] Mike [Matheny] and [pitching coach Derek Lilliquist] at the appropriate time and sort that out. But what he did last night certainly didn't hurt him in any way."

What Wacha did was battle jumpiness through two innings, while navigating through the rough patch to yield two runs on four hits and three walks. He then settled in, retiring 10 in a row and logging five innings plus one batter on 98 pitches. It was Wacha's fourth start since an 11-week layoff with a right shoulder stress reaction.

"The first inning and two was a struggle where he was fighting himself with his command," Mozeliak said. "But he certainly settled himself and appeared more confident and obviously more efficient, and in the end, gave us what we needed. He gave us a chance."

If the Cardinals want to include Wacha into a four-man postseason rotation it would necessitate bumping John Lackey or Shelby Miller. Lackey has been one of the most prolific postseason pitchers in recent history, while Miller went 4-1 with a 1.48 ERA and .189 opponents' batting average in September. Miller walked five and struck out 26 in 30 1/3 innings this month.

Asked if Wacha would be considered for a bullpen role if the Cardinals opt not to include him in the rotation, Mozeliak replied: "I think that's an option, for sure."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.