PITTSBURGH -- The Cardinals' roster expanded at the beginning of the month, but you wouldn't know it by the number of players available to manager Tony La Russa. A rash of injuries has left St. Louis with a relatively short bench, even given the September callups.
La Russa has six healthy and available bench players, including Brian Barton, who has been upgraded. Barton had previously been considered available only to run, but La Russa said on Friday that the outfielder is now playable. Barton recently came off the disabled list after missing time with a strained right oblique muscle.
Two other wounded Cards are slowly making progress but are still off-limits. Troy Glaus and Yadier Molina, who sustained a right shoulder strain and a bruised thigh, respectively, this week, are still sidelined.
"There's a chance they could be [ready] about the same time," La Russa said. "They're improving, but they're both still sore."
Meanwhile, another prominent Redbird remains in something of a holding pattern. Outfielder Rick Ankiel, who is suffering from what is being called an abdominal strain, left the team on Friday to visit a specialist. Pending the results of the second opinion, it is possible that Ankiel could be shut down for the year -- but the club is waiting to hear the doctor's recommendations.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.