Cards' Williams likely to pitch

Starter missed first round with pulled muscle

team `not optimistic' on Rolen

NL playoff notes

October 08, 2002

Woody Williams probably will get a shot at starting in the NL Championship Series for the St. Louis Cardinals after missing the Division Series with a pulled muscle in his left side.

Williams threw 20-25 pitches from the mound Sunday, the day after the Cardinals completed their first-round sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and played catch yesterday. He could get a start as early as Game 2 of the NLCS on Thursday night.

Manager Tony La Russa said the team would wait until tomorrow, the morning of Game 1, before making its roster final for the second round of the playoffs.

But he indicated that Williams, 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA in 17 starts between stints on the disabled list for the side injury, had a better chance of being on the roster than third baseman Scott Rolen because the Cardinals will carry 12 pitchers.

"If Woody was in our rotation and Scott Rolen was playing third, bring on the world," La Russa said. "Having one of the two is better than having none of the two. If he doesn't make it, you've still got 11 guys to pitch, so you can definitely take a risk."

If Williams can pitch, the Cardinals likely will use a four-man rotation of Matt Morris (17-9), Williams, Chuck Finley (11-15) and Andy Benes (5-4). La Russa revealed only a part of the plan yesterday, saying Morris would work Game 1 and that Benes would pitch in Game 3 or 4.

If Williams can't pitch, 28-year-old rookie Jason Simontacchi (11-5) would replace him and La Russa likely would move Finley and Benes up.

Rolen, who had 31 home runs, 110 RBIs and batted .266, was optimistic he could perhaps play later in the series, but La Russa is reluctant to devote a roster spot to an injured player.

"He's got a sprain in several places and it's very painful," the manager said. "It's a lot to expect that it's not going to be a couple of weeks before he gets ready, and it's a lot to expect a club to play with four bench guys in a National League-type game.

"So, we're not too optimistic."

Trainer Barry Weinberg took that another step.

"We haven't ruled him out yet, not completely," Weinberg said. "Almost."

KILE: The Phoenix disc jockey who made an on-air prank call to the widow of Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile was fired, the radio station announced.

KUPD-FM morning radio personality Beau Duran called Flynn Kile at her hotel and asked if she had a date to last Thursday's playoff game.

KUPD suspended Duran last week, but in a written statement yesterday, general manager Chuck Artigue said Duran was fired.

Kile died from blocked coronary arteries in June while in Chicago for a game.

GIANTS: Lawyers for two men embroiled in a dispute over ownership of Barry Bonds' record-setting 73rd home run ball said they'll seek the assistance of a retired judge to mediate the case.

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