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Tavarez has keepsake of his clash w/ telephone

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  • Tavarez has keepsake of his clash w/ telephone

    QUOTE
    Tavarez has keepsake of his clash with telephone
    By Derrick Goold
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    10/14/2005

    HOUSTON

    When Cardinals reliever Julian Tavarez closes his left hand into a fist, he cannot help but recall his clash with the dugout phone at Minute Maid Park. His pinky overlaps his ring finger and is locked tight there because that's the way the bones have healed.

    The bones were broken when he punched the phone about a year ago this weekend. He chose not to have them reset.

    "They'd have to re-break them to fix them," he said. "I'm not going to go through that. I'll keep them as a reminder."

    Tavarez had no quarrel with the phone, it was just within his fist's reach after his low slider had been flat-drilled for a score-tying home run by Houston's Carlos Beltran in Game 4 of last fall's National League Championship Series. That loss allowed the Astros to tie the series.

    Tavarez jokes that the phone is "a friend" now, and the Cardinals hope their relief pitching is more of a friend in this visit to Houston.

    So far this postseason, the Cardinals bullpen has allowed more earned runs (eight) than the Cardinals' starting rotation (six) and has done so in a third fewer innings (10 1/3 for the bullpen and 33 1/3 for the starters).

    Pitching coach Dave Duncan said Tavarez "hasn't pitched the way he is capable of pitching. If we were to look at any one thing that's negative, it's that he hasn't pitched the way he needs to pitch. Otherwise (the bullpen's) been all right."

    There have been few taut situations for the Cardinals' bullpen this postseason, mainly because the club broke out for early and big leads against San Diego and the starters have pitched three-quarters of the innings. Only closer Jason Isringhausen has had regular work.

    That figures to change as this series grows older, and it figures to be tricky. The Houston lineup does not provide much opportunity to counter with lefthanded relief, so most of the bullpen's outs will be needed from Cardinals righthanders. Without Al Reyes (elbow surgery), there's a hole on the right side. That means Tavarez (a 15.43 ERA so far this postseason) needs to, as he said, "keep fighting through this little thing."

    It also could yank starter Jason Marquis into pivotal moments.

    Marquis, unbeaten by Houston this season, will be used out of the bullpen - be it in Reyes' middle-relief role, a long-relief situation or even in a setup role - to get to Isringhausen. He's there to provide righthanded relief depth against a Houston club that figures to test it.

    "We thought Marquis would be very valuable to us in the bullpen," Duncan said. "He can be used in a lot of different situations, and often. I would be surprised if he doesn't pitch quite a bit yet in this series."

    Movin' on up

    In order to add the former pitching phenom to their 40-man roster, the Cardinals purchased outfielder Rick Ankiel's contract Friday from their Class AA affiliate in Springfield, Mo. The move puts Ankiel in the plans for next season by keeping him under Cardinals' control just before this weekend's deadline would have made him a minor league free agent.

    "We felt it could be high-reward," assistant general manager John Mozeliak said. "What we see are the indications that we feel he has a chance to make the team. He has the ability to be in the major leagues."

    Finally frustrated by his inability to rein in control of his electric stuff as a lefthanded pitcher, Ankiel retired as a pitcher in spring training. He simultaneously announced he would remake himself as an outfielder. Slowed by a back injury at the start of his return to the minors, Ankiel finished stout - hitting .276 with 10 home runs, seven doubles and 30 RBIs in his final 28 games at Springfield.

    To make room on the 40-man roster for Ankiel, the Cardinal released pitcher Evan Rust, the player acquired for Tino Martinez from Tampa Bay.

    Extra work

    Attempting to bust the mini-funk that's crept into his batting at the start of this NLCS, second baseman Mark Grudzielanek ducked into the cages for some work with hitting coach Hal McRae. The infielder had been pleased with how he stung the ball in the first round - though a .154 batting average was not the results sought - but through two games of the NLCS he said he felt he's "flying open, too loose."

    Grudzielanek, who hit .294 in his first season as a Cardinal, has one hit in eight at-bats in the NLCS. In Game 2, he grounded out three times against Houston starter Roy Oswalt and was 0 for four overall. Getting his line-drive strike going could be key today, as Grudzielanek's .318 average vs. Game 3 starter Roger Clemens is the best of the Cardinals with more than 10 at-bats against the multiple Cy Young winner. [/b][/quote]

    "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
    I can replay the incident now:

    MAAAAAAAAAAANG!!!!!!!!!1111

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