ST. LOUIS -- After pitching four straight days for the first time in his career, Edward Mujica has been told that he will not be available for use on Thursday night. Manager Mike Matheny did not confirm the preplanned night off for Mujica, though it would seem logical that he would turn to Trevor Rosenthal should a save situation arrive.
Mujica, 17-for-17 in save opportunities this season, had thrown three consecutive days 12 times previously, including twice earlier this season. The closer's efficiency has been one of the reasons the Cardinals have felt comfortable leaning so heavily on Mujica to this point. He has not thrown more than 19 pitches in any of his save chances and has totaled only 45 over this four-game stretch of saves.
Mujica's role, Matheny said, is also taken into consideration when determining how heavy a workload the right-hander can handle.
"I think you have to treat your closers a little differently," Matheny said. "I want him to know he's doing a great job for us. We put all the faith in the world in him. We put trust in him, too."
Mujica said that he convinced Matheny he felt strong on Wednesday afternoon after Matheny let him know he preferred not to use him at all in Wednesday's game. Matheny altered his plans following that discussion.
It's unlikely that Matheny would change his mind again on Thursday.
"He told me today it's a day off," Mujica said. "He told me that they don't like to use pitchers four days in a row, but that the closer is kind of different because you have to be available in certain game situations. But after last night's game, he told me, 'Hey Mujica, I am probably going to give you two days off.' He asked me today how many days I wanted. I said today, and let's see how it feels tomorrow."
Mujica has already pitched in 24 games, putting him on pace to exceed his previous season high of 70. His 17 saves rank second in the National League behind Pittsburgh's Jason Grilli (21).
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less