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Sanders is back; cleared to play Monday

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  • Sanders is back; cleared to play Monday

    For Sanders, the swing's the thing
    By Derrick Goold
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Cardinals outfielder Reggie Sanders, his bat essential to the balance of the lineup, plans to return to the field today, nearly two months after a fractured leg halted the pace of a career season.

    Team officials said if Sanders feels ready to play tonight, he will, having been medically cleared to do so. Three weeks remain in the regular season, so the focus will be on getting his offensive groove going.

    Sanders had 18 home runs and 14 steals - chugging toward the 30-30 season he has sought - to go with 44 RBIs and a .281 average before colliding with Jim Edmonds on July 15. The collision cracked his right fibula and injured his ribs.

    His return is well-timed, as the Pirates are scheduled to start two lefties against the Cardinals in a series that starts tonight at Busch Stadium. In such games, Sanders had been batting cleanup - righthanded protection for Albert Pujols - and has hit .333 with 18 RBIs and a .589 slugging percentage in that spot.

    Piazza is OK

    New York Mets All-Star catcher Mike Piazza said Sunday he felt OK waking up and coming to the ballpark the day after being hit in the head by a pitch. Piazza believed he was well enough to pinch hit, if needed, but added that he was scheduled to get Sunday off. Saturday's game was his first since Aug. 19, when he sustained a fracture in his left hand.

    "It just takes a few hours to get your faculties back," Piazza said Sunday. "I'm all right. ... I can play if they need me."

    Cardinals manager Tony La Russa repeated his disgust over high-and-tight pitches, like the one by reliever Julian Tavarez that struck Piazza in the helmet. As he did Saturday night, Piazza declined to comment on a postgame meeting he had with La Russa and if he harbors any animosity from the incident.

    Wainwright debuts

    Righthander Adam Wainwright, considered the second-best pitching prospect in the Cardinals organization, made his major league debut Sunday. Helped by two diving plays by John Mabry at third base and hurt by a 2-2 slider that stayed up, Wainwright pitched the ninth inning and allowed three runs on two hits.

    The Mets' Victor Diaz crushed a 2-2 slider for a three-run homer off Wainwright, widening a lead the Cardinals had sliced to 4-2.

    "Definitely not how you've been planning it since you're a little kid, or since I was a little kid," said Wainwright, who was 10-10 with a 4.40 earned-run average in 29 starts for Class AAA Memphis. "But it is good to be out there. First time out. It's over now. I can look forward to my next time on the mound."

    Mets mark 9/11

    To observe the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks, the New York Mets wore caps bearing the emblems of seven different rescue, medical and law-enforcement groups. Piazza wore a New York Police Department cap out to accept the replica of Busch Stadium given to a representative of every club during its last visit.

    Pedro Martinez pitched the game while wearing a hat from the New York Fire Department.

    Around the horn

    The Cardinals are collecting goods, such as clothing, toys and house supplies, that some of the players will present to Hurricane Katrina victims who arrive at Lambert Field. Trainer Barry Weinberg is organizing the effort. The Cardinals could make the deliveries as early as Tuesday. ... Umpire Ed Hickox, scheduled to be at home plate Sunday, was a late scratch because of illness. The officials went with a three-man crew for the game. ... Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee pulled down No. 9 from the Busch Stadium countdown board.

    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

  • #2
    Glad to hear it. Go Reggie!