Pineiro's return to rotation may be in flux

Pineiro's return to rotation in flux

ST. LOUIS -- Joel Pineiro's recent rest may not be enough. Pineiro's next scheduled start, on Saturday against Pittsburgh, is very much in question as the right-hander recuperates from a right groin strain.

Pineiro was bumped from his originally scheduled start on Tuesday night against Houston because of an injury he sustained six days earlier while shagging balls in the outfield in San Diego. He had planned to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, but it seems likely he will not be fit enough to get on a mound yet.

"Right now I can't," he said. "I'd probably say no, I can't right now at this moment. Maybe tomorrow it feels better. But today I can't throw. I can play catch, but I can't throw a side."

That would seem to jeopardize any chance Pineiro would have of pitching in a game on Saturday. Possible candidates to take his start include Mike Parisi and Anthony Reyes. Parisi has been serving as a long reliever for the Cardinals, but he is a starter by trade and has twice been held as an emergency starter candidate when a scheduled starter's availability was in question.

Reyes is currently at Triple-A Memphis, where he is again pitching well. He has a 2.04 ERA in four starts, with 19 strikeouts, 11 walks and one homer allowed in 17 2/3 innings. Reyes last pitched on Sunday, so he would be on five days' rest for a Saturday start.

If Pineiro is not available to make his start, the club would likely place him on the 15-day disabled list. A DL stint could be backdated to May 20, so he would be eligible to be activated on Wednesday, June 4 -- and his next turn in the rotation, following Saturday, would be Thursday, June 5.

"I don't think he's going to be out a long time," manager Tony La Russa said, while declining to speculate on a potential move or non-move.

"I think we'll just wait and get more information."

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