Though the Cardinals said earlier in the week that Isringhausen would be activated on Thursday, the reliever came to the park in the morning knowing he'd be waiting another day.
"He threw [three] bullpens and didn't face any hitters," manager Tony La Russa said. "We'd all be more comfortable if he faced hitters. He thinks he can face hitters at 10 o'clock and be ready at 2 or 3. It's a risk. He probably could, but why risk it?"
One factor playing into the decision may have been the status of catcher Yadier Molina, who missed the previous three games with a sprained ankle. The Cards called up Mahoney as catching insurance. It stands to reason that the club would want to make sure that Molina was fully functional before optioning Mahoney.
Molina plays: There was good news on the Molina front. He got the start on Thursday afternoon. Molina was technically available on Wednesday night in an emergency situation, but La Russa avoided using him. Einar Diaz went 1-for-11 in Molina's absence.
Molina picked right up where he had left off offensively, racking up three base hits in his return to action. He's 12-for-29 since April 30, raising his average from .138 to .223.
"Right now I'm more quiet," said Molina. "I'm more quiet in my stance. I can see the ball better."
Today in Busch history: On May 12, 1966, Busch Stadium opened for business. The Cardinals beat the Braves, 4-3, when Lou Brock hit a bases-loaded single to drive in Curt Flood. Mike Shannon had the Cards' first hit in the new ballpark. Several members of that inaugural team, including Brock and then general manager Bing Devine, were honored before the game on Thursday.
Baby 'Birds: Adam Wainwright kept rolling for Memphis, striking out six and walking one in a 15-4 thrashing of Las Vegas. Hector Luna homered twice, including a grand slam, and Pete Zoccolillo added two homers for the Redbirds. ... Double-A Springfield rapped out 10 base hits and totaled 14 baserunners, but could only manage a single run in a 4-1 loss to San Antonio. ... Class A Palm Beach was held to six hits in a 3-2 loss to Dunedin. Calvin Hayes, playing second base, went 2-for-3. ... Class A Quad Cities won a rain-shortened game, 1-0, over Cedar Rapids in five innings. Dennis Dove went the distance, allowing two hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
The player of the day was Zoccolillo, who reached base four times on two homers, a single and a walk, scored three times and drove in five runs. The 28-year-old first baseman/outfielder signed as a Minor League free agent with the Cardinals this spring.
Coming up: The Cardinals hit the road for a 10-day, nine-game, three-city road trip that starts Friday night. In an intriguing matchup, New York native Jason Marquis faces off against his old Atlanta teammate, Tom Glavine. Saturday brings an even better battle, with Mark Mulder going against Pedro Martinez.