Cardinals Notebook

Agent Says Ponson Pulling For Old Team

By Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 25, 2006

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 24 -- Don't expect pitcher Sidney Ponson to sulk over the fact the St. Louis Cardinals are in the World Series and he is not. Ponson, who signed with the Cardinals this offseason but was released during the season, is happy to see his former team in the postseason, according to agent Barry Praver.

"He's been watching the games and he's rooting for his ex-teammates to win," Praver said.

Ponson, formerly with the Baltimore Orioles, was 4-4 with a 5.24 ERA for the Cardinals before being released on July 11. Ponson was expected to take the rotation spot now occupied by Jeff Weaver, who has been a postseason standout for the Cardinals.

Ponson was signed by the New York Yankees but was released a short time later. He is at home in Florida hoping to play for a club next year.

Ponson will receive a share of the Cardinals' postseason bonus and also likely would receive a World Series ring should St. Louis win the championship.

Ponson was able to play for the Cardinals after his three-year contract with Baltimore was voided by the club. Ponson has filed a grievance with the union that still has not been resolved. A hearing scheduled for late August was scrapped because he had been released by St. Louis. Union general counsel Michael Weiner, in St. Louis to announce the new collective bargaining agreement, said a new hearing had not yet been scheduled.

Eckstein Breaks Out

Cardinals shortstop David Eckstein appeared to break out of his postseason slump in Tuesday's 5-0 win. Eckstein, who was just 8 for 50 this postseason entering Tuesday, had two hits, a walk and a run.

"I knew it was going to come," Eckstein said. "I had to be patient."

It appears Monday's day off helped Eckstein, who has been bothered by nagging injuries in the past week. He played down the significance of the time off.

"I've been feeling the same," he said. "I would rather just keep playing. The body wants to play every day."

Wilson Gets Robertson Again

Cardinals outfielder Preston Wilson's mastery of Detroit Tigers starter Nate Robertson continued. Wilson, who was 5 for 5 against Robertson entering the game, had a single in the fourth inning to start the Cardinals' two-run rally.

"You never know," Wilson said, "but I feel good about facing him. I've seen the ball well against him."

Wilson, a notorious free swinger, also had two walks. Wilson said he wasn't trying to change his approach.

"I'm never in 'take mode,' " Wilson said. "I'm always looking to hit." . . .

Cardinals reliever Braden Looper said he wasn't scheduled to pitch the ninth inning, but that the Cardinals' long bottom of the eighth changed Manager Tony La Russa's mind. The Cardinals scored a run in the eighth against Detroit relievers Fernando Rodney and Zach Miner.

Looper pitched a scoreless ninth in relief of Chris Carpenter, who threw eight scoreless innings. This is Looper's second World Series. He was a part of the Florida Marlins' championship team in 2003.

"I think it helped," Looper said of his prior experience. "The first time you pitch in the World Series, you're in awe."

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