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Notes: Mulder's surgery successful

Notes: Mulder's surgery successful

ST. LOUIS -- Mark Mulder underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder on Tuesday, but the procedure was somewhat more complicated than had initially been hoped.

Rather than a simple debridement, or cleanup, of fraying in Mulder's left rotator cuff, David Altchek performed a repair of a partial thickness tear in the cuff. Altchek, a Mets team physician, was assisted by Cardinals head team physician George Paletta on the operation.

The rotator cuff was approximately 50-percent torn, according to Paletta, leaving Mulder right on the cusp of the decision between debridement and repair. Debridement would have required roughly a 10-12 week rehabilitation before Mulder could begin throwing. The repair will increase that time to roughly four months, which could affect Mulder's offseason throwing program.

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"That will mean a longer time frame for his recovery, but I think in the long run, that's probably what's best for him in the long-term outlook for his shoulder and his career," Paletta said.

Mulder is expected to rejoin his teammates within a matter of days.

"The MRI is very effective at showing us that there is some abnormality in the rotator cuff, showing us that there's a partial thickness tear," Paletta said. "It's not very good at predicting whether this is something you can debride or whether it's something that's best treated with repair. We've had guys on both sides of the aisle, and that's a decision that needs to be made at the time of surgery."

Mulder should be back in St. Louis on Wednesday and could be with his teammates over the weekend.

"I know his goal and intention is to come back and join the team, be part of something he wishes he could be a part of on the field," Clifton said.

Tiebreaker would be at home: Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that if a one-game tiebreaker is needed between the Cardinals and Reds to settle the National League Central championship, the game would be held at Busch Stadium. A coin flip was held to determine the site. No site was announced for a potential Cardinals-Astros tiebreaker. If a game is needed between St. Louis and Houston, a coin flip will be held at a later date. A playoff would be held on Monday, Oct. 2, with television coverage on TBS.

Awards push: Manager Tony La Russa would love to see Chris Carpenter win his second straight NL Cy Young Award. However, the skipper will not jeopardize his postseason rotation to improve Carpenter's chances of bringing home the hardware.

Carpenter is tentatively slated to pitch the final game of the regular season, on Sunday, Oct. 1, at home against the Brewers. But if St. Louis has clinched the NL Central by that time, Carpenter will not take the ball.

"There are a lot of tough calls," La Russa said. "That's not a tough call."

Welcome back: Tentatively scheduled to take the mound for the visiting Giants at Busch Stadium on Friday night is a very familiar face to Cardinals players and fans. Right-hander Matt Morris, who won 101 games as a Cardinal from 1997-2005, will make his first career start as a visitor in St. Louis.

This date in Cardinals history: On Sept. 12, 1974, Al Hrabosky enjoyed arguably the best game of his career. The "Mad Hungarian" pitched four scoreless, hitless innings of relief for the save in a 12-5 win over the Mets at Shea Stadium. He also contributed mightily with the bat, going 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs. In his 13-year Major League career, Hrabosky had a total of eight hits and six RBIs.

Coming up: The Cards and Astros will close out this series on Wednesday with a matinee. Roy Oswalt (12-8, 3.15 ERA) will go for the visitors against Jason Marquis (14-14, 5.66 ERA), who will be pitching on short rest in place of Anthony Reyes. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m. CT.

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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