ST. LOUIS -- Donovan Osborne certainly is consistent.
The St. Louis Cardinals pitcher was put on the disabled list Friday for the seventh time in seven major league seasons.
Osborne, 29, left Thursday night's game against Pittsburgh after allowing four runs in four innings. The diagnosis was shoulder inflammation following an MRI and bone scan Friday, and he was placed on the 15-day DL.
"I can pitch through a lot of pain because I've had surgery before and I know what I can and can't do," Osborne said. "I can't do it right now. The pain is intolerable."
Osborne, 1-3 with a 5.52 ERA in six starts, is in the final season of a $12.75 million, three-year contract. He's missed much of the first two seasons because of a hernia, two groin injuries and a shoulder injury, totaling 14 starts in 1998 and 1997.
He missed the entire 1994 season after reconstructive shoulder surgery.
The Cardinals recalled right-handed reliever Rick Croushore, 1-0 with four saves and a 6.75 ERA at Triple-A Memphis. Osborne will be replaced in the rotation with right-hander Manny Aybar, who has thrown 11 consecutive scoreless innings in relief and has a 2.00 ERA in 18 innings.
Aybar, 24, made the team mostly because he's out of minor league options. The Cardinals turned down several trade offers after Aybar went 10-0 for Memphis last year.
"This guy's a legitimate talent, and he's got everything going for him," manager Tony La Russa said. "It's going to get better and better."
Aybar drops into the slot that was supposed to be filled by left-hander Kent Mercker. But Mercker threw 3 2-3 innings of relief Thursday night, so he's been moved back to Tuesday.
Mercker had been in danger of losing his spot because of a 7.48 ERA, but hasn't lost any of his confidence. He was a slow starter last year, with a 6.09 ERA before the All-Star break and a 3.91 ERA after.
"They're going to do what they've got to do and I'm not worried about it," Mercker said. "I'm not in a mental state where I'm going home and saying, `What am I doing wrong?' and pulling out videotapes and calling my old high school coach."
Croushore, a screwball specialist, was 0-3 with a 4.97 ERA and eight saves for St. Louis last year.
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