Notes: Rolen out at least a week

Notes: Rolen out at least a week

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals did not place Scott Rolen on the disabled list before Wednesday night's game against the Dodgers. That doesn't mean they won't.

Rolen sustained a sprained left shoulder in a collision with Los Angeles first baseman Hee-Seop Choi on Tuesday night. He was not available for Wednesday's game and he is not expected to travel with the team at least to New York for the first part of a nine-game road trip.

A great deal hinged upon how Rolen felt on Wednesday, a day after sustaining the injury, and he didn't arrive at the park in particularly good shape. His movement was significantly restricted in his shoulder, and he was in significant pain.

"I don't feel any better today," Rolen said before the examination. "If anything, I feel a little worse. But that is not unexpected, to feel worse the day after."

Rolen was examined by Dr. George Paletta, the Cardinals' head team physician, shortly before game time. Paletta was not encouraged by what he saw and heard. Rolen will undergo an MRI exam on Thursday morning. The results will be read by Paletta, at which time a more accurate diagnosis on Rolen's condition will be made.

"A lot depended on how he woke up this morning," Paletta said. "And unfortunately he didn't wake up with a very positive spin on things. Both in terms of his complaints and how he examined today, it looks like he took the wrong fork in the road right now.

"So it looks like the worst of the two options. I'm trying to be realistic about his situation, not be overly alarmist, but not be overly optimistic. The best-case scenario now is to hope the MRI comes back without any structural damage and that he responds to the treatment fairly quickly. But we're not looking at a couple of days here."

X-rays on Tuesday night showed no bone displacement or damage as a result of the collision. However, the continued discomfort and limited range of motion suggested that other structural problems may exist.

"Given how sore and how different his exam looks today, and the fact that he can't fire the muscles very well, we need to look at those soft tissues," Paletta said. "We need to look at the labrum and the rotator cuff and make sure that it's not a structural problem, and that it's just dysfunction from the fact that he's painful and things are sore right now."

Paletta said he expected Rolen to be out for a bare minimum of a week, and that would be a best-case scenario. It is unlikely the Cardinals will be able to avoid placing their All-Star third baseman on the DL.

"It looks probably at this point, barring some miraculous recovery, that that's what we're looking at," Paletta said.

John Mabry got the start at third base in Rolen's place. He and Abraham Nunez will likely divide up the playing time for the time being, unless a move is made. The Cardinals could call up Hector Luna or Scott Seabol to play the infield.

Molina available: Weinberg said before Wednesday night's game that he had cleared Yadier Molina to play and that the catcher was available for the contest. Einar Diaz got the start in place of Molina nonetheless, but the chances look good for Molina to start Thursday afternoon in the series finale.

Once Molina is back to full duty, the Cardinals will likely send Mike Mahoney back to the minor leagues.

Sad day: La Russa has spoken highly of Tony Pena, who recently resigned as manager of the Royals. He still had kind words for Pena after the former big league catcher stepped aside. He said he was sorry to see Pena out of the managerial ranks.

"There isn't anything he's doing differently from two years ago when he was the manager of the year," La Russa said.

Molina available: Weinberg said before Wednesday night's game that he had cleared Yadier Molina to play and that the catcher was available for the contest. Einar Diaz got the start in place of Molina nonetheless, but the chances look good for Molina to start Thursday afternoon in the series finale.

Once Molina is back to full duty, the Cardinals will likely send Mike Mahoney back to the Minor Leagues.

Sad day: Manager Tony La Russa has spoken highly of Tony Pena, who recently resigned as manager of the Royals. He still had kind words for Pena after the former big league catcher stepped aside. He said he was sorry to see Pena out of the managerial ranks.

"There isn't anything he's doing differently from two years ago when he was the Manager of the Year," La Russa said.

Today in Busch history: On May 11, 1998, the Cardinals thumped the Brewers, 7-0, behind contributions from a slew of players. Brian Jordan, Ron Gant and Ray Lankford all hit home runs, and Todd Stottlemyre was absolutely dominant. Stottlemyre pitched eight innings of two-hit ball, struck out 13 and didn't issue a walk. Thanks to Project Retrosheet for the information.

Baby 'Birds: Triple-A Memphis jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but lost, 5-4, to Las Vegas on Tuesday. Skip Schumaker had four hits in the defeat. ... Andy Schutzenhofer singled, doubled and was hit by a pitch in Double-A Springfield's 4-1 loss to San Antonio. ... Class A Palm Beach and Class A Quad Cities both had the day off on Tuesday.

Schumaker's four knocks make him the player of the day. The Memphis center fielder is hitting .331 with a .377 on-base percentage this year. He's scored 22 runs and stolen seven bases in nine attempts. Schumaker, 25, was St. Louis' fifth-round draft pick in 2001.

Coming up: The Cardinals' eight-game homestand comes to an end with a 12:10 p.m. CT start on Thursday against the Dodgers. Chris Carpenter takes the mound hoping to rebound from a subpar last outing. He'll face Los Angeles' Derek Lowe. On Friday, the Redbirds kick off a three-city road trip with a 6:10 p.m. CT game against the Mets in New York.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.