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Notes: Reyes to miss playoffs

Notes: Reyes to miss playoffs

ST. LOUIS -- The Cardinals announced on Monday that right-handed reliever Al Reyes has a torn medial collateral ligament in his right elbow and will have to have reconstructive surgery. Reyes is out for the entire postseason and will likely be unable to pitch for close to 12 months.

Reyes, 35, enjoyed a career year in 2005, his first full Major League season since 1999. He was a vital piece of the St. Louis bullpen, appearing in 64 games with a 2.18 ERA over 62 innings. He struck out 67 batters, walking just 19, and tallied a 4-2 record with three saves and 15 holds.

"It's really horrible luck for him," said Cardinals head athletic trainer Barry Weinberg. "He's done so well and he's worked so hard."

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The Cardinals will miss Reyes' bullpen contributions in the middle and late innings, and perhaps particularly against left-handers. Reyes held lefty hitters to a .174 average this season, a figured bettered by only closer Jason Isringhausen and lefty Randy Flores among St. Louis relievers.

"It's one of those deals that we had earlier when we had an injury to a player," said manager Tony La Russa. "You want to give the player respect, and Al Reyes was in the middle of any situation we had in the last three or four innings when we were trying to close out a game. Every which way, he had a great year.

"But if you make too big a thing of it, it sounds like, 'How are we going to win without him?' And we've got to."

La Russa declined to name the pitcher who will take Reyes' roster spot for the National League Division Series starting Tuesday. However, it's likely that Reyes' absence means that both Cal Eldred and Brad Thompson will be on the roster, whereas one of them probably would have been left off if Reyes had been healthy.

Morris, then Carpenter? La Russa formally announced on Monday that Matt Morris will be his Game 3 starter in San Diego, adding that Game 1 pitcher Chris Carpenter would be an option in an if-necessary Game 4.

Jeff Suppan and Jason Marquis will both be in the bullpen for use if needed in the first three games. One of those two right-handers could go in the fourth game if Carpenter is not used. They are both possibilities for a potential Game 5, and Game 2 starter Mark Mulder could conceivably go on short rest in a fifth game.

"What Dave [Duncan, pitching coach] and I have talked about is Chris tomorrow and Mark Thursday and Matt will pitch Game 3," La Russa said. "And then we're going to see where we are and what it's taken to get there. We'll use Jeff and Jason out of the 'pen if we need to, especially with Al [out]. So we'll see where we are by the time we get to Sunday and make a call."

Most likely, if the Cardinals have a chance to clinch in Game 4, they would go with Marquis or Suppan, thus possibly saving Carpenter for the opener of the National League Championship Series. If they're facing a must-win, they might be more inclined to bring back Carpenter on regular rest in the fourth game, leaving all options open for Game 5.

Woody's back: Woody Williams, who pitched for St. Louis from 2001-04, shapes up as the likely Game 3 starter for the Padres. He's looking forward to another chance to pitch against his old team.

"The fans treated me great ever since the first day I pitched against Florida," Williams recalled. "When I got through, I had a standing ovation that night, and I didn't even think I'd pitched that well.

"I still have a lot of good friends over there. It's going to be fun to play against them."

Williams pitched against St. Louis once this year, taking the loss on July 26 at PETCO Park. He allowed four runs on nine hits over six innings in that game.

Nunez is ready: One of the very few Cardinals with no postseason experience is infielder Abraham Nunez, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Pirates. Pittsburgh never even had a .500 record while Nunez was there, and only once finished within 10 games of first place.

"I still pinch myself sometimes," said Nunez, who signed with the Cardinals as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. "I never thought it would happen to me, especially in Pittsburgh. Being a free agent, and especially being out of the roster, and having to make the team in Spring Training [is amazing]. I thank God for this opportunity. This is something I've really been looking forward to."

Nunez is the likely regular starter at third base for St. Louis throughout the postseason.

TV times, umpires announced: Major League Baseball announced on Monday that Game 2 of the Cardinals-Padres series will be broadcast on ESPN2, with a 3 p.m. CT TV time on Thursday. Tuesday's series opener will be carried on ESPN at 12 p.m. CT. Actual first pitch times are scheduled for 12:09 Tuesday and 3:09 Thursday. Game times have not been announced for the remainder of the series. Game 3 is Saturday in San Diego.

The umpiring crew for the series will be headed by crew chief Ed Montague, who will work home plate for Game 1. Also on the crew are Bill Hohn (first base in Game 1), Bruce Dreckman (second base), Jerry Layne (third), Angel Hernandez (left field) and Tim Timmons (right field).

Bits and pieces: Weinberg said that center fielder Jim Edmonds, who was sidelined Saturday and Sunday with a sore right shoulder, is expected to be cleared to play on Tuesday for Game 1. ... Jim Leyland, who works as a scout for the Cardinals in Pittsburgh, is considered the leading candidate for the newly vacated Tigers managing job. ... Outfielder Reggie Sanders is sporting a new beard, which he expects to keep throughout the playoffs -- much like the famous "playoff beard" look in hockey.

Today in Busch Stadium history: On Oct. 3, 2000, the Cardinals beat the Braves, 7-5, in Game 1 of their Division Series. That's not why the game is remembered, however. A day after Darryl Kile took the podium in a pre-series news conference, the Cardinals started rookie left-hander Rick Ankiel instead. Ankiel threw five wild pitches and walked six batters in 2 2/3 innings, starting a stretch of brutal control problems.

Quotable: "I bet if they had their hand on a bible, they'd say they don't think we're really good, because they beat us four out of seven. So I'm hoping we throw out the regular season." -- La Russa, on the Padres

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

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