Jeff Suppan is getting a second chance with the St. Louis Cardinals, a team that could really could use an arm right now.
The Cardinals signed Suppan, 35, Monday and plan to start him tonight against Seattle. Brad Penny (upper back) might not return from the 15-day disabled list until the All-Star break, and Kyle Lohse (forearm) is on the 60-day DL.
“It was a lot of emotions and I was just going to wait and see what happened, to be honest with you,” Suppan said. “But I’m glad it worked out and I’m very happy to be here.”
Suppan was cut by Milwaukee last week after going 0-2 with a 7.84 ERA, making only two starts this season before moving to the bullpen. He was MVP of the 2006 National League Championship Series while with the Cardinals and also was a member of the rotation that got swept by the Red Sox in the ’04 World Series, posting career-best 16-win seasons in ’04 and ’05.
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Suppan’s first game in his return to the Cardinals, also his first start since Game 4 of the ’06 World Series, will be at home against the Mariners. He was issued uniform number 37, the same as he wore in his first stint with the team.
Though he’s 135-137 for his career, the right-hander was 44-26 in three seasons with St. Louis. Manager Tony La Russa said Suppan got the thumbs-up from pitching coach Dave Duncan after a bullpen session during the weekend.
“The arm had life, and they were together for a long time,” La Russa said. “It’s not dramatic but he tweaked him a little bit, so we’re anxious to send him out there.
“He could really give us a lift if he’s right.”
Suppan said he had trouble adjusting to pitching out of the bullpen with the Brewers, and altered his delivery over time.
“A lot of it was staying tall, which has always been a foundation for me,” he said. “I don’t know how I wasn’t doing it, but I guess it just kind of crept in there.
“So they were simple things that I felt very good about after just one bullpen.”
STRASBURG NL PLAYER OF WEEK
More kudos for rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg: He’s the National League player of the week.
The Washington Nationals’ hard-throwing right-hander was given the honor Monday. He is 2-0 with 22 strikeouts and a 2.19 ERA in two major league starts.
His 22 strikeouts were the most in the majors last week. Only Karl Spooner of the 1954 Brooklyn Dodgers fanned more batters (27) in his first two major league starts.
Strasburg has already supplied the Hall of Fame with a hat and a ball from his major league debut. He has also read the Top 10 list on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
He is next scheduled to pitch on Friday against the Chicago White Sox.