Cards' Cairo makes most of his brief chances

Utility player was on base all 5 times to plate in NLDS

Diamondbacks-Cardinals notebook

October 06, 2002|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,SUN STAFF

ST. LOUIS - Miguel Cairo of the St. Louis Cardinals could give a seminar on making the most out of a brief opportunity.

Cairo wasn't even on the National League Division Series radar screen until the ninth inning of Game 2 on Thursday, but he could easily have won the Most Valuable Player award if they gave one for the first round.

Here's his performance in a nutshell: He replaced the injured Scott Rolen on Thursday and drove in the winning run in Game 2, then started last night and had three hits, two runs and two RBIs. He batted 1.000 in the best-of-five series - he had four hits and was hit by a pitch in five plate appearances.

"What a country," Cairo said. "I just went out there and tried to have fun.

"I just wanted to relax and concentrate and take the approach of a pinch hitter."

When it was over, Cairo tried to articulate the emotions that all of the players in the Cardinals' dugout were feeling after overcoming so much to reach the NL Championship Series.

"This team has gone through a lot of stuff," he said. "We lost DK [Darryl Kile]. I was praying that he would be here with us. I believe that he is celebrating with us now."

Rolen update

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa continued to express hope that Rolen will bounce back quickly from the shoulder sprain he suffered in Game 2.

"I asked him if he needed help taking his shirt off," La Russa said. "He said no, he was all right, so I think it's just a case of hang with it and wait a few days and see how he feels."

The official timetable is 10-14 days, but there is no way of knowing how long it will take for Rolen to overcome the injury he suffered when base runner Alex Cintron slammed into him. It's unlikely he will play again this season unless the Cardinals reach the World Series.

By the book

Diamondbacks pitcher Miguel Batista is a sensitive guy who has a way with words.

He has a book of Spanish poetry in print in both the United States and his native Dominican Republic, the proceeds from which benefit the Diamondbacks Charities and the Miguel Batista Foundation.

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