The Phillies learned yesterday that they will be without ace Curt Schilling and star third baseman-cleanup hitter Scott Rolen for the rest of the season.
Schilling has a sore right shoulder. He finished with a 15-6 record and a 3.54 earned run average in 24 starts.
Rolen has a tear in one of his annular ligaments, which hold the disks together between each vertebrae. A tear or fraying of one of these ligaments often is associated with lower back strain.
Rolen, hitting .268 with 26 home runs and 77 RBI, hadn't played since Aug. 25.
JOHNSON SLOWED: A sore shoulder, combined with Arizona's comfortable lead in the NL West, has spoiled Randy Johnson's long-shot chance to break Nolan Ryan's record for most strikeouts in a season.
Johnson, who has pitched more innings than any other player in baseball this season, sat out his scheduled start last night and probably won't pitch again until Saturday against Florida.
That means he will have only three more starts this season. He needs 49 strikeouts to break Ryan's 26-year-old record of 383. That's just over 16 strikeouts a game, a rate that seems beyond even the considerable reach of the 6-foot-10 left-hander.
Johnson has insisted all along that the strikeout record is not a big deal to him.
"If I struck out a dozen more people this year but I won the last four starts of the year, that's going to make me happy," he said earlier this week.
Probably no statistic in baseball this season is more misleading than Johnson's 15-9 record. In seven of those losses, his teammates failed to provide him with more than two runs, including an incredible stretch when the Diamondbacks were shut out in four of his starts in a row.
ANKIEL TO BULLPEN: Cardinals phenom Rick Ankiel will be moving to the bullpen for the rest of the season. The Cardinals don't want to overwork Ankiel and strain the arm of what could be the team's ace for years to come. So Manager Tony La Russa said that Ankiel's days as a starter are over until 2000. Ankiel, 20, is 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA with the Cardinals.