CHICAGO • Cardinals reliever Blake Hawksworth was discharged Sunday from Northwestern Memorial Hospital but, according to manager Tony La Russa, probably won't play again this season.
Hawksworth required almost 30 stitches to his mouth and upper lip after being struck by a fifth-inning line drive in the team's 7-3 loss Saturday against the Chicago Cubs. He may also undergo dental surgery this week.
Hawksworth arrived at Wrigley Field about 90 minutes before first pitch Sunday, dressed and watched from the bullpen.
Clearly uncomfortable before the game, Hawksworth found it easier to discuss Saturday's events after the Cardinals won their road finale 8-7.
"The pain's not too bad," he said. "I definitely remember everything about the event. I don't know if I went out or not. I definitely was numb for a minute and couldn't move. Mentally, I'm fine. I'm not dizzy. I'm coming out of it OK. I'm very thankful."
La Russa said it is unlikely Hawksworth would pitch in the season's final week. La Russa also recognized how lucky Hawksworth was to escape without more significant injury.
The shot off Cubs center fielder Sam Fuld's bat struck Hawksworth on the right side of his mouth, dropping him to the mound for several minutes. "If it had been higher, it would have been worse," La Russa said. "If there was any good fortune to it, he got it."
"From what I feel like today, looking back on what it was, I feel very blessed," Hawksworth said.
Hawksworth reinforced his feelings later Sunday afternoon to his followers on social media, texting, "Praise be to God. On my way back to STL. Thanks for all the love."
Miller Back in '11
Lefthanded reliever Trever Miller is assured a third season with the Cardinals after his 2011 option vested last month. The option, however, could have reverted to the club's control had Miller finished the season unable to pitch. A forearm issue that left Miller off limits for a week this month has dissipated, putting its vesting element in force.
Miller, 37, has never spent more than consecutive seasons with the same team during a career including nine major-league stops. "Usually, it's been two years and it's on to the next team," he said.
Crew chief Joe West had little response to La Russa's criticism following the manager's ejection Saturday. La Russa, irked by what he believed to be different strike zones given Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter and Cubs starter Casey Coleman, argued at length with West between the top and bottom of Saturday's fourth inning.
"As much as any umpire in this league, Joe knows exactly what he's calling and why," La Russa said Saturday, before restating similar comments to broadcaster Mike Shannon for Sunday's pregame show. "He's in total control of his game whether it's on the bases or at the plate. He knows exactly what he's doing, and he knows why he's doing it."
West said he was unaware of La Russa's critique and refrained from offering a response. West, also known as "Cowboy" for his love of country music that includes a recently released CD, did say that a review of Saturday's game supported his performance as one of his best this season.
West also noted that he gave La Russa plenty of say before running him.
"Out of respect to him, I gave him a long leash. Other than that, I don't have a lot to say," West said.
First baseman Albert Pujols smashed his 408th home run in Sunday's first inning, moving him past Andrew Jones and Duke Snider into sole possession of 45th place on the all-time list. Darrell Evans is next up at 414. ... Left fielder Matt Holliday retains the NL lead for most two-out RBIs with 49, well ahead of Milwaukee Brewers Ryan Braun and Casey McGehee (42) and Pujols (41). Since April 17, Holliday has not gone more than two games without a hit. The Cubs extinguished Holliday's 16-game hitting streak Saturday and held him 0 for four Sunday.