Scott Rolen faces a gut-wrenching decision: have season-ending surgery on his still-ailing left shoulder, or try to play into October far below his best with the team that has the major leagues' best record.

The Cardinals' all-star third baseman said yesterday that he's been told he has a torn labrum that will require a six-month rehab. He wants to weigh his admittedly dismal options.

"I have a chance of being part of something pretty special, or walk around in a sling," Rolen said. "One of the questions is: What's my best chance to win a ring as a St. Louis Cardinal?"

Rolen, who underwent surgery on the shoulder after a May 10 collision with Dodgers 1B Hee Seop Choi, was placed on the 15-day disabled list July 22 when it became clear he was not progressing.

* UNDER THE SCOPE: Reds 2B Ryan Freel underwent a 30-minute arthroscopic surgical procedure to remove a free-floating piece of cartilage from his right knee. Freel is expected to miss no more than three weeks.

* LATE SCRATCH: The Astros' Craig Biggio sat out last night's home loss after he showed up at the park still feeling weak from having two teeth removed earlier in the day. Biggio said he had laughing gas and a local anesthetic shot for the surgery, hoping he would be able to still play. "If this were the seventh game in the World Series, I'd play," he said. Instead, Chris Burke was switched from left field to second and Orlando Palmeiro was inserted in left.

* CASTILLO OUT: Marlins 2B Luis Castillo (strained left quadriceps) did not start a second consecutive game as Florida shut out the Padres last night. Manager Jack McKeon said Castillo would miss "a couple of more days, at least."

* 500 CLUB: Pittsburgh reliever Rick White appeared in his 500th major league game as the Pirates blanked the Mets, 5-0.

-- From News Services

Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen faces additional surgery after having his left shoulder operated on in mid-May.