Isringhausen looking good in 'pen

Isringhausen looking good in 'pen

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Once Jason Isringhausen got on the bus heading south from the Cardinals' complex in Jupiter, Fla., there was no doubt he'd be pitching on Wednesday. A veteran hurler of Isringhausen's stature doesn't go on the road to serve as backup.

"If he's on this trip," manager Tony La Russa said on Wednesday morning, "he's pitching."

He was, and he did. Isringhausen sat out Sunday and Monday due to stiffness in his back, but he was cleared to pitch Wednesday against the Orioles. He barely broke a sweat, working a 1-2-3 sixth inning with two ground-ball outs and a strikeout.

"Everything went good, and that's all I can ask for," he said. "I worked on my pitches and didn't have any problem with my back."

Though he missed a few days, Isringhausen will be a busy man in the coming days. He said he hopes to pitch five times in the Cardinals' remaining 10 exhibition games -- a slate that includes two games at Double-A Springfield at the end of next week. He expects to pitch on consecutive days at least once before the regular season starts, and possibly twice.

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