Notes: Rolen's status up in air

Notes: Rolen's status up in air

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty held court on a wide variety of subjects on Wednesday afternoon before his team's game against the Diamondbacks. For the most part, Jocketty carried an optimistic tone regarding injuries and his team's strength for the stretch run.

However, Jocketty did not sound particularly sanguine about the status of injured third baseman Scott Rolen, who has been on the disabled list since July 21 with recurrent discomfort in his shoulder from a May 10 collision with Dodgers first baseman Hee-Seop Choi.

"I think we still don't know for sure where he's at physically," said Jocketty. "We know he's not ready to come back yet. [We don't know] whether he will be before the end of the season. But we're getting to a point where he's going to have to start playing to get ready to play for the rest of the year. I don't know. It's really hard to determine at this point."

Perhaps more disconcerting, Rolen did not take issue with Jocketty's assessment.

"I don't think it's unfair," said a discouraged Rolen, who stayed in St. Louis to rehab while the Cardinals went on their last road trip to Chicago and Milwaukee.

"Before the team left, I was in better shape than I am right now."

Jocketty was asked whether Rolen's availability before the end of the year could be considered a "coin flip," a term that he didn't exactly relish.

"I don't think it's a coin flip," Jocketty said. "He still needs time for it to heal, and I just don't know how much time that's going to take.

Rolen came back from the disabled list in June and played for a month before being shelved again. Of St. Louis' four injured regulars, he's the only one who is not currently taking batting practice.

"There's nothing you can really do to expedite the healing process," Jocketty said. "It takes time to heal, and it takes time to build the strength up. It's something he hasn't had before. I don't know if we've had an injury like that."

No moves: Jocketty said he doesn't expect to make any major adjustments to the Cardinals before the end of August, at which time playoff rosters need to be set. The GM said in July that he figured August might be a busier month for trades than the month leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, but that hasn't come to pass.

"There's still time left," he said, "but there are a lot of teams that are hanging in the Wild Card race. So I'm still not sure there's going to be a lot done."

Jocketty said he hasn't come particularly close to any deals since the beginning of August.

Molina moves forward: Yadier Molina gets closer and closer to a return from the disabled list, though manager Tony La Russa downplayed the possibility of Molina playing on Thursday. Molina took swings and ran the bases on Wednesday, and it's a day-to-day question as to when he will return.

"I think he's making a lot of progress, and I still think, depending on how he says he feels, just from looking at him, I think it's very likely we'll see him this homestand sometime," La Russa said.

It would be a nice bonus to the Cards to have Molina available to catch Jason Marquis on Thursday, but it's more likely that the catcher will take the extra day or two.

Walker swings well: If his swings at 4:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday were any indication, Larry Walker is more than ready to return from the disabled list. Walker, recuperating from a herniated disk in his neck, put on a dizzying display in batting practice. He even picked up an aluminum bat for a little while and cranked one homer into the suite level in right field.

Walker is probably still a few days away from a return to game action, however. He's likely to be added to the active roster before the weekend is out.

"I ran today in the field for the first time," Walker said Wednesday. "If I say I am going to play tomorrow after running in the field once in the last three weeks and taking BP twice, that's jumping the gun right there. I don't want to get in a bad situation and [mess] up something else."

Bats, balls and books: Representatives of the St. Louis Public Library participated in an on-field ceremony for the Summer Reading Club at Busch Stadium on Wednesday. Among those in attendance from the library were executive director Waller McGuire; the youth services specialist at the library's Julia Davis branch, Vynetta Morrow; mascot "Theo Thesaurus"; and two children from the Julia Davis branch -- Deon, 7 and Savon, 11.

Cards set tickets record: The Cardinals announced Wednesday that they have surpassed 3.45 million tickets sold for the season, breaking the previous franchise single-season sales record of 3.43 million that was established in 1989. The team has sold out 30 of its first 61 home dates this season, and has drawn at least 40,000 for 22 straight games.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the support we've received from our fans," team president Mark Lamping said in a statement issued by the club. "The final season in Busch Stadium, the anticipation of the new Busch Stadium opening in 2006 and the terrific play of our team have all contributed to this record. It's a record that everyone associated with the Cardinals should be proud of -- most importantly, our loyal fans."

Today in Busch Stadium history: On Aug. 17, 1970, a matchup of two future Hall of Fame pitchers did not turn out as expected. Bob Gibson and Don Sutton took the hill for the Cardinals and Dodgers, respectively, in an 11-8 St. Louis win. Sutton was chased after allowing six runs in two innings, but Gibson toughed it out -- he lasted 8 1/3 despite permitting eight runs on 14 hits. Gibson even added two singles and two RBIs, while Jose Cardenal went 3-for-5 and drove in three runs. Thanks to Project Retrosheet for the information.

Baby 'Birds: Jeremy Cummings pitched five innings of two-hit ball for Triple-A Memphis in an 8-3 win over Oklahoma on Tuesday. ... Brendan Ryan singled, doubled and walked twice for Double-A Springfield, and Stuart Pomeranz pitched seven strong innings (two runs, five hits, one walk, one strikeout) in a 5-3 win over Frisco. ... Class A Palm Beach had an off-day. ... Michael Cooper allowed a run on four hits over five innings, but Class A Quad Cities fell, 4-1, to Beloit. ... Zachary Zuercher deserved better than the no-decision he received in short-season New Jersey's 3-2 loss to Brooklyn. Zuercher, the Cards' ninth-round pick in June, struck out five and walked just one over seven innings, allowing a run on three hits. Sean Danielson had three hits. ... Rookie-level Johnson City was rained out against Kingsport.

The player of the day for Tuesday is Memphis' Chris Duncan, who homered twice, drove in three runs, scored three times and added a walk for good measure. Duncan, 24, was a supplemental first-round pick by the Cardinals in 1999. He's the son of pitching coach Dave Duncan.

Coming up: It's the final meeting of the season -- barring a potential playoff matchup -- between the Cardinals and Diamondbacks. Marquis takes the mound at 7:10 p.m. CT against Arizona's Claudio Vargas. Marquis will once again be aiming for win No. 10 on the year.

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