McClellan off roster for Cards in NLDS

McClellan off roster for Cards in NLDS

McClellan off roster for Cards in NLDS
PHILADELPHIA -- The Cardinals finalized their roster for the National League Division Series on Saturday, one day after a workout day at Citizens Bank Park. St. Louis elected not to carry Kyle McClellan on the roster, but Matt Holliday and Rafael Furcal will be healthy enough to play.

McClellan has been dealing with fatigue in his pitching arm for a good bit of September. He asked for a breather following his appearance on Monday in Houston. However, he said that after three full days without throwing, he felt very good once again. That wasn't enough to convince the Cardinals.

"Really, it's just about over the last couple weeks, how he's felt," said general manager John Mozeliak on Saturday of the decision to keep McClellan off the NLDS roster. "Ultimately it comes down to the comfort level we have of knowing if we can go with somebody back-to-back."

McClellan acknowledged he was surprised by the decision, but declined to comment further.

At the beginning of Friday's workout, it sounded as though Holliday's roster spot might be in some jeopardy. However, Holliday felt better than he had in recent days when he swung off a tee, and he will be included in the final list of 25. Holliday is dealing with tendonitis in his right hand.

Mozeliak said there is little concern that Holliday could significantly aggravate the injury. Instead, it is a matter of pain tolerance. Holliday did not receive an anti-inflammatory shot in his hand, because it likely would have sidelined him for long enough that he'd have been left off the roster.

"I hit in the cage, felt pretty good, threw, felt pretty good," Holliday said. "I think tomorrow I'll hit, probably do batting practice, and see where it goes."

It's uncertain that Holliday would be available to start Game 1, but he likely wouldn't be on the roster if the club believed he'd be entirely unavailable.

Furcal, meanwhile, participated in a full workout, including running at close to maximum effort, and was highly encouraged. He is more likely to start Game 1 than Holliday.

"Everything is good," he said. "I was running good, took groundballs, everything is fine."

The Cardinals will go with 11 pitchers and 14 position players against the Phillies, a departure from the 12-13 breakdown they had virtually all season. All five of the Cardinals' starting pitchers will be on the active roster, as will two left-handed relievers.

Right-handers Jason Motte, Fernando Salas, Octavio Dotel and Mitchell Boggs will be joined by lefties Marc Rzepczynski and Arthur Rhodes in the bullpen. Edwin Jackson and Jake Westbrook, who are not starting in the first three games, will be available in relief at least for Games 1-2.

Jackson would likely start a fourth game if he is not used extensively in relief, but manager Tony La Russa indicated that Jackson might well factor heavily in his bullpen mix. Westbrook is more likely a long-relief option, whereas Jackson could have a somewhat more prominent role.

Kyle Lohse starts Game 1, followed by Chris Carpenter on three days' rest in Game 2. Jaime Garcia gets Game 3 at home, followed by either Jackson or Westbrook, and Carpenter would go in a potential Game 5 in Philadelphia.

Adron Chambers was the chief beneficiary of the team's roster composition, and he'll stick as a pinch-runner, defensive replacement and super-sub for the Cardinals. The other 13 hitters will be: Yadier Molina, Gerald Laird, Albert Pujols, Skip Schumaker, Furcal, David Freese, Nick Punto, Daniel Descalso, Ryan Theriot, Holliday, Jon Jay, Lance Berkman and Allen Craig.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.