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Notes: Mulder in line for Game 2

Notes: Mulder in line for Game 2

ST. LOUIS -- They're not saying for sure yet, but the Cardinals are expected to turn to Mark Mulder in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series on Thursday. Mulder, who was struck on his left arm by a line drive in Game 2 of the Cards' Division Series against San Diego, threw a bullpen session on Tuesday, and the results were encouraging.

"It's gotten better every day," Mulder said after throwing. "I didn't really have any complications."

That would allow the Cards to set up their rotation the same way they did in the Division Series. Chris Carpenter will pitch the opener on Wednesday. Mulder would go in Game 2, followed by Matt Morris in Game 3. Game 4, as in the Division Series, remains unannounced, a decision between Jason Marquis and Jeff Suppan.

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If Mulder is unavailable, the situation becomes rather more complicated. Either Suppan or Marquis would likely be called on to pitch Game 2. Mulder would probably then be pushed back to the third game, and Morris to Game 4. Morris could pitch in Game 2 on his regular four days' rest, but manager Tony La Russa said that would not be preferable.

"He didn't have his normal day-after work Sunday, because it was a day off," said La Russa. "All that stuff you do to get the kinks out. That disrupts his routine. That would be one of the options, we would push him to [Game] 2, but that's not his schedule. So there are some issues there."

Mulder threw approximately 40 pitches in the bullpen at Busch Stadium during the Cards' workout before the start of the series. He also threw on the side on Monday.

"Yesterday, the first 20 pitches were a little odd because I hadn't picked up a ball in three or four days," Mulder said. "But it doesn't take very long when you've been throwing this long."

Walker improving: Outfielder Larry Walker said his sore right knee continues to improve. Walker is expected to play in Game 1 of the NLCS. He was hit near his knee in the second inning of the Division Series clincher.

"Honestly, I wouldn't have been able to play yesterday, with my knee," Walker said Tuesday. "Today I probably could. Yesterday was a bad day. I got some work on it, worked out today, so it's fine."

King goes home: Ray King missed the workout in order to attend the funeral of his father, John, at his home in Tennessee. The elder King had been seriously ill with cancer for several months, and he passed away on Thursday. Ray King is expected to rejoin the team in time for Game 1 of the NLCS. He did not pitch in the Division Series.

Slight shift: With the Cardinals facing a left-handed pitcher for the first time in the postseason, their lineup will change for the first time on Wednesday. Walker will be bumped down to the No. 5 spot in the order, with Reggie Sanders moving up from five to four.

Reyes still waiting: The hectic schedule for the Los Angeles Angels has had effects that reach all the way to the Cardinals. Al Reyes knows he'll have his Tommy John surgery performed by Angels team doctor Lewis Yocum, but he doesn't know when. Reyes had been hoping to meet with Yocum early this week, but the Yankees-Angels rainout over the weekend made the situation more complicated.

Reyes hopes to consult with Yocum over the weekend, when the Angels are at home. He hopes to have the surgery done as soon as possible.

Fans can pitch in: The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that fans attending the NLCS games at Busch Stadium will have the opportunity to join baseball fans in the other postseason markets, along with Major League Baseball, in helping Habitat for Humanity rebuild the gulf coast areas affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Habitat volunteers will be stationed inside Busch gates as fans enter Wednesday's game, and outside the gates before Thursday's game. All donations will help Major League Baseball and Habitat for Humanity build new housing in the gulf coast areas.

Quotable: "I'd rather be the Angels than the Yankees or the other 25 that are not dealing with that." -- La Russa, when asked about the travel hassles the Angels have gone through in recent days

Today in Cardinals postseason history: On Oct. 11, 1964, the Cardinals beat the Yankees, 4-3, at Yankee Stadium to even the World Series at two games each. New York hung three runs on Ray Sadecki in the first inning, chasing Sadecki, but St. Louis regrouped. Roger Craig and Ron Taylor combined for 8 2/3 innings of shutout relief, and Ken Boyer hit a sixth-inning grand slam for all the Cardinals' offense. Thanks to Project Retrosheet for the information.

Arizona update: The Surprise Scorpions obliterated Grand Canyon, 20-1, in Arizona Fall League play on Monday, and two Cardinals prospects had fine games in the process. Travis Hanson went 4-for-5 with a triple and three runs scored, and Cody Haerther was 2-for-6 with two runs. Cory Doyne pitched a scoreless ninth for Surprise.

Coming up: Carpenter will make his second start of the playoffs in the series opener on Wednesday, with first pitch set for 7:19 p.m. CT. Andy Pettitte will pitch for Houston.

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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