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Notes: Mulder shows improvement

Notes: Mulder shows improvement

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ST. LOUIS -- After playing most of the regular season with an injury to at least one key player, the Cardinals escaped from their first-round playoff series with no serious injuries.

The only small concern is No. 2 starting pitcher Mark Mulder, who was struck in his left bicep by a Joe Randa line drive on Thursday in the second inning of Game 2 of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium. Mulder went on to pitch 6 2/3 innings in the game for the win and said his arm was still sore and tight the next day.

On Monday, Mulder was at Busch Stadium for an optional workout held by the team. He threw 30-40 pitches in the bullpen and said his arm continues to improve.

"I feel fine, there's no swelling," Mulder said. "Its OK. It feels a lot better."

Head athletic trainer Barry Weinberg said the pain in Mulder's shoulder has diminished, allowing him to pitch more comfortably.

"He showed a lot of improvement," Weinberg said. "We'll see how he comes in tomorrow and progress from there."

There still is no decision on whether or not Mulder will be available to start Game 2 on Thursday night.

"They are just basing it on when I am going to be ready, because I haven't thrown [a] side [session] yet, so I will do that tomorrow or Wednesday," Mulder said.

"We're optimistic he will be able to take one of the turns in this series," manager Tony La Russa said. "It's just whether or not he can throw comfortably and effectively, but he had a good day [Monday]."

If Mulder can't go on Tuesday, neither Jason Marquis or Jeff Suppan have pitched yet in the playoffs and both would be available. It's also possible that Matt Morris would be bumped up a game since he would have his normal amount of rest.

"Mark gets the ball if he's healthy," La Russa said. "If not, we have a different way to go. We'll check him out first and whichever way it goes, we'll go in the right direction or a different direction."

La Russa concerned for Martz: While the Cardinals' health concerns were minor on Monday, many St. Louis sports fans were worried about the health of their head football coach, Mike Martz of the Rams.

Martz, who is a close friend of La Russa, announced on Monday that he would take an indefinite leave of absence from the team after it was discovered that he has endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the lining of the heart or a heart valve.

After the Cardinals workout, La Russa was asked if he heard the news about Martz. He said he had just found out, but planned to call Martz following the workout.

"I've been worried about him," La Russa said. "I think it is a very smart move. They've got a long season. I'm sure he will get healthy and get back, but he's got to take care of his health."

The Cardinals had a similar scare this season when reliever Cal Eldred was diagnosed with viral myopericarditis -- a viral infection that causes mild inflammation around the lining and muscles of the heart. Eldred was diagnosed in April and made a comeback on June 12. He has since become one of the Cardinals most reliable middle relievers with a 1-0 record and a 2.19 ERA in 37 innings.

"I don't know if it is like what Cal Eldred has, but we were really, really worried for Cal, health-wise first and professionally later," La Russa said.

World Series tickets to go on sale: The Cardinals announced that tickets for the World Series will go on sale Saturday, Oct. 15 at 9 a.m. CT.

Tickets will not be sold at Busch Stadium, only by phone or online.

Fans who want to purchase tickets through the internet must pre-register at stlcardinals.com by 11 a.m. CT on Wednesday, Oct. 12, for a random drawing. Winners of the drawing will be notified by e-mail. The e-mail will provide instructions on how to purchase tickets on Saturday. The tickets purchased are available on a first-come basis. Details of the random drawing are posted on stlcardinals.com.

Anyone who would like to purchase tickets over the phone must call (314) 421-2400.

Those purchasing tickets are limited to two tickets and one game. Ticket prices are the same as they were in 2004 (as determined by Major League Baseball) and are priced as follows: Terrace Box Outfield ($150), Loge Reserved Outfield ($140), Terrace Reserved ($125), Upper Terrace Reserved ($125), Bleacher ($65) and Standing Room ($45).

The Cardinals anticipate approximately 12,000 tickets available for public purchase. If they make it to the World Series, they will host Games 3, 4 and 5 if necessary.

Umpires selected for NLCS: Tim McClelland has been named crew chief of the umpires who will work the NLCS. In Game 1, he will be behind the plate calling balls and strikes. It is McClelland's 13th postseason assignment and his sixth League Championship Series. The rest of his umpiring crew consists of Greg Gibson, Wally Bell, Phil Cuzzi, Larry Poncino and Gerry Davis.

Stephen A. Norris is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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