Originally created 10/20/06

Rolen's Game 6 double is enough proof for La Russa



NEW YORK - Scott Rolen was 5-for-28 with no RBI in the postseason entering Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. Manager Tony La Russa gave no thought to sitting the All-Star third baseman, who has complained of a sore shoulder.

La Russa sat Rolen, who drove in 95 runs in the regular season, for Game 4 of the division series after he revealed he'd been bothered by fatigue and soreness in his surgically repaired left shoulder. La Russa said Rolen's ninth-inning double off Billy Wagner in Game 6 was evidence the problem is not physical.

"I'm convinced that his struggles are more needing to make an adjustment in his approach than they are his shoulder," La Russa said. "That's a good- looking swing that he can repeat productively."

La Russa resisted the temptation to rip up the lineup card and insert So Taguchi, who was 4-for-4 as a pinch hitter and late-inning replacement in the postseason with two big hits off Wagner. One of the potential lineups had Taguchi in center field because Jim Edmonds reported he wasn't feeling 100 percent on Wednesday, but Edmonds said he was ready Thursday.

WARMING UP: Orlando Hernandez, recovering from a torn right calf muscle that kept him off the playoff roster, threw about 25 pitches in a light bullpen session before Game 7.

Mets manager Willie Randolph said that if his team won the pennant, his starter in Saturday's World Series opener could be a pitcher who wasn't on the current active roster.

"There's always that possibility," he said. "Dave Williams is down in a taxi squad working out, if we want to put him in our rotation. You never know. We have guys ready to go. Who knows? Could be El Duque, the way he's working, coming around, bouncing around pretty good. So it could be him."

Hernandez threw 72 pitches in a bullpen session last Sunday.

WE'LL CALL YOU: Going to Game 7 of the NLCS meant that the Cardinals might have to start either rookie Anthony Reyes or resurrect Jason Marquis from non-roster status for the opener of the World Series in Detroit on Saturday.

The alternative would be Jeff Weaver on three days' rest. The Cardinals were ready to do just that before Game 5 was postponed by rain earlier this week.

La Russa refused to address his World Series rotation before the NLCS finale, saying he had enough on his plate already.

"We've talked a little bit about it," La Russa said. "Whether it would be Jason or Anthony, that's the question."

Marquis, who won 14 games but with a 6.02 ERA, wasn't used in the division round and the 24-year-old Reyes took his roster spot for the NLCS.

"I haven't thought about it," Marquis said.