Stavinoha set to debut with Cards

Stavinoha set to debut with Cards

BOSTON -- The Cardinals have decided to place Cesar Izturis on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, and while that's bad news for the team's infield defense, it means another opportunity for a farmhand.

The latest Memphis Redbird to shuttle up to the big league club will be Nick Stavinoha, a 2005 draftee who is enjoying a huge year in the Pacific Coast League. The righty-swinging outfielder is batting .346 with a .375 on-base percentage, a .519 slugging percentage and 10 home runs.

When Stavinoha gets in a game, he will be the ninth player to make his Major League debut for St. Louis this season.

With Albert Pujols set to come off the DL in a matter of days, Stavinoha's stay may be short. But he'll likely get a chance to play while he's around, thanks to left-handed starters for the Red Sox on Sunday and the Tigers on Tuesday. It's even conceivable that Stavinoha could start at first base for St. Louis.

The Cards have no obvious choice to man that position, which has been held down by Chris Duncan against righties since Pujols was hurt. Stavinoha played some first base in Class A. Other options include catchers Yadier Molina and Jason LaRue.

However the lineup is set up, the Cardinals will be looking to become the first team to sweep Boston at Fenway Park this year. The Red Sox are a remarkable 28-9 at their home ballpark.

"I can believe it," said manager Tony La Russa. "They're tough to play against."

No move with Izturis and Stavinoha will be finalized until Sunday, but it is little more than a formality at this point. Because Stavinoha is not on the 40-man roster, he will have to be added there as well as the 25-man. To make room for him on the 40-man, Chris Carpenter will be transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day.

Interleague record: 88-80 overall, 4-4 in 2008

2008 Interleague Schedule
May 16 vs. Rays: Lost, 3-1
May 17 vs. Rays: Won, 9-8
May 18 vs. Rays: Won, 5-4
June 17 vs. Royals: Lost, 2-1
June 18 vs. Royals: Lost, 3-2
June 19 vs. Royals: Lost, 4-1
June 20 at Red Sox: Won, 5-4
June 21 at Red Sox: Won, 9-3
June 22 at Red Sox
June 24 at Tigers
June 25 at Tigers
June 26 at Tigers
June 27 at Royals
June 28 at Royals
June 29 vs at Royals

Pitching matchup
STL: RHP Joel Pineiro (2-3, 4.02 ERA)
Exhibit 14,591 on why wins are a bad way to judge a pitcher: Pineiro hasn't won since April 29. In the interim, however, he's pitched well enough to win at least three times, most notably in his most recent start, when he allowed a single run over seven innings. Fenway Park probably isn't high on Pineiro's list of favorite places, but he's going well enough that he might be able to erase the bad memories of a frustrating '07 with the Red Sox.

BOS: LHP Jon Lester (6-3, 3.18 ERA)
Lester has been Boston's best pitcher over the past few weeks. He has won his past three starts, giving up a total of three runs in 20 1/3 innings. Lester is holding opponents to a .249 average on the season and has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 10 consecutive starts. Lester has thrived at Fenway this season, going 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA.

Pineiro has 17 strikeouts and four walks over his past 17 2/3 innings. ... The Cardinals have won six straight road series but have not swept a road series this year. ... The Cardinals have trailed the Cubs by the same margin, 3 1/2 games, for 10 straight days. The gap has been between 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 games since May 31. ... St. Louis is 14-12 in games started by opposing left-handers.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
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Up next
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Cardinals (Braden Looper, 8-5, 4.10) at Tigers (Kenny Rogers, 5-4, 4.36), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Wednesday: Cardinals (Kyle Lohse, 9-2, 3.63) at Tigers (Armando Galarraga, 7-2, 3.03), 6:05 p.m. CT

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