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Rasmus is ready for return to lineup

Rasmus is ready for return to lineup

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WASHINGTON -- Center fielder Colby Rasmus tested his sore right calf Saturday with a series of sprints and base-running drills. Barring negative feedback Sunday, Rasmus is expected to rejoin the starting lineup after serving in nothing more than a pinch-hit role the past 11 games.

Rasmus has remained insistent that he not push himself for fear of a setback that could cost him the remainder of the season. He has taken plenty of batting practice and says he is ready for a return to the middle of the lineup once reinstalled.

Prepping for Cincy

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan made it official that they will toggle the starting rotation for the approaching three-game series against the division-leading Cincinnati Reds by activating Jeff Suppan for a Sept. 1 start against the Houston Astros.

The move allows rookie lefthander Jaime Garcia extra rest before pitching the Sept. 3 series opener against the Reds at Busch Stadium. Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright will follow. The same three pitchers started in the Cardinals' three-game sweep of the Reds at Great American Ball Park Aug. 9-11. The change moves Jake Westbrook out of the series.

Penny Pending

Cardinals starting pitcher Brad Penny received an encouraging report from an MRI scan performed Wednesday and is cleared to begin a throwing program once lingering discomfort eases, according to general manager John Mozeliak.

Mozeliak on Saturday described Penny as "feeling better" but still "not pain free," adding that Penny could begin a throwing program after spending a week working out near his California home.

With so little time remaining in the season, Mozeliak described the possibility of Penny pitching again this season as "pushing the envelope, but I do feel he wants to give it a try."

Mozeliak said any assistance Penny might lend would come out of the bullpen. Penny hasn't pitched since May 21 because of a muscle tear in his upper back. A return to the rotation "is not plausible given the timing," Mozeliak said.

Et Cetera

Catcher Yadier Molina missed a second consecutive start, but his sore right knee had improved enough that La Russa expects him to become available for Sunday afternoon's series finale. Bryan Anderson made his fourth major-league start. ... Jason Motte worked two scoreless innings in a rehab appearance at Memphis and is expected to rejoin the team in Houston on Monday. Motte has been on the disabled list since Aug. 3 due to a shoulder strain. He threw 27 pitches in Friday's outing, his second for the Class AAA Redbirds. ... Mozeliak said the club "kicked around" placing a waiver claim on released Colorado Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe but eventually decided against it. The Tampa Bay Rays signed Hawpe to a minor-league deal Friday. ... The Cardinals are likely to make a series of additions when rosters expand Sept. 1 but may show some restraint if Memphis makes the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Lefthander Evan MacLane may have helped his standing by working seven shutout innings Friday. The Cardinals are expected to recall outfielder Nick Stavinoha, infielder Tyler Greene and a third catcher Wednesday. Pitcher P.J. Walters and outfielder Joe Mather also have spent time with the parent club this season.

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