Notes: Izzy sails through second outing

Notes: Izzy sails through second outing

JUPITER, Fla. -- Jason Isringhausen needed just 15 pitches to dispense with the Mets' first three hitters -- Jose Reyes, Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Beltran -- in his second appearance of Spring Training.

Isringhausen induced groundouts from Reyes and Lo Duca, and he struck out Beltran looking on a 2-2 count with a nasty back-door cutter in the second time he pitched the first inning of a spring game.

The St. Louis closer also started Thursday's game against the Dodgers, his first appearance in a game since Sept. 6, 2006, just before he had season-ending hip surgery. Against Los Angeles, he permitted two hits but got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam with no runs allowed.

"I just felt better [Sunday]," said Isringhausen, who was relieved by Kip Wells to start the second inning. "The other day I was maybe trying to do too much. Today, I kept it more under control. I kept the ball down, and they hit it on the ground -- and with our defense, that's a good thing to do."

The right-hander, who threw nine strikes, said he was pleased that his strikes were down in the zone instead of up, maximizing the chances for ground balls. In two spring innings, Isringhausen has thrown 31 pitches, including 22 for strikes.

His next outing is scheduled for Wednesday, and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is unsure whether Isringhausen will start or enter later in the game. Isringhausen said he would like to throw Wednesday and Friday, and then throw back-to-back games before Spring Training is over.

"My arm's been feeling great," Isringhausen said. "I've just had normal aches and pains of a 12-year pitcher. My arm feels good; my hip's staying in tact."

Schumaker seizing day: Skip Schumaker, one of the players in the mix for an outfield position, came into Sunday's game batting .407 with two home runs in 12 games.

He started both Saturday and Sunday in center field, and he went 1-for-2 with two walks in the Cardinals' 5-4 win over the Mets, raising his average to .414. On Saturday, he was back in the lineup after missing five games due to a sprained ankle. He went 1-for-2 with a walk.

With Jim Edmonds and Juan Encarnacion both nursing injuries and uncertain for Opening Day, Schumaker knows that could mean a lot of playing time for the other outfielders -- and himself.

"I want to do whatever I can to help the team, whether I'm a guy off the bench or helping out Jim [Edmonds] until he's healthy," said Schumaker, who also is comfortable in right or left. "I've got to make the team first, so that's my main goal."

La Russa wants more oomph from Wilson: Preston Wilson continues to struggle this spring. The power-hitting outfielder came into Sunday's game batting .226 in 10 games with just one RBI and a team-high 12 strikeouts. He was 0-for-1 as a pinch-hitter on Sunday.

"It's not a serious deal," La Russa said." The only reason it's worth mentioning is that he can be a key guy for us. Before we signed him there were 300 or 400 at-bats out there for the right guy, and we were looking for the right guy and we chose Preston. But somebody else can get them. He can get them, but he's got to be the guy that earns them."

Wilson, a former home run and RBI leader in the National League, would give the Cardinals a solid option in the outfield, especially with uncertainty surrounding Edmonds and Encarnacion. The fact that Wilson can hit for power makes him that much more of a desirable choice in the outfield.

Short hops: In the first inning, David Eckstein drew a full-count walk on a high payoff pitch. He then stole second base on the first pitch to the next batter, Chris Duncan. ... Scott Spiezio, starting in right field, made a nice running catch on a Lo Duca drive in the gap in right-center field in the third inning. Spiezio also hit a double leading off the eighth. ... Russ Springer, who missed the first half of Spring Training because he was recovering from a strained left oblique muscle, pitched in his second game. He allowed one run on two hits, including a home run off the bat of Reyes. ... Sunday's crowd of 8,393 was the second-largest in Roger Dean Stadium history. The high is 8,442, set March 22, 2002, also a Cardinals-Mets game.

Up next: The Cardinals have their only off-day of the spring on Monday. St. Louis will return to action Tuesday with a 6:05 p.m. CT game in Vero Beach, Fla., against the Dodgers. Anthony Reyes, who will come into the game with a 2-0 record and a 0.90 ERA in 10 innings, will start for the Cards.

Faran Fagen is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.