News from around the Central:
Today's injured Cards update: reliever Bryan Augenstein, who's been sidelined since April 12 with a bad groin (heh), has resumed a throwing program, but there's no timetable for his return. There's also no firm timetable for second basemen Skip Schumaker (triceps), who's taking ground balls but can't throw or swing a bat yet.
- To make room on the roster for the return of righty Homer Bailey (more on that below), the Reds optioned reliever Jordan Smith to AAA Louisville.
Pittsburgh's High Class A affiliate in Bradenton has been forced to move its games for the time being after inspectors determined that the first- and third-base overhangs in McKechnie Field were structurally unsafe. Bradenton is also home to the Pirates in spring training.
Former Brewer Doug Davis pitched 6.2 innings for Chicago's Single-A affiliate in Daytona, giving up two hits and two walks and striking out seven without allowing a run. Word is that Davis might've earned himself a start with big league club on May 14. We can only hope.
- A day after gacking away a 2-0, ninth-inning lead without recording an out, Astro closer Brandon Lyon was placed on the 15-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis and a partial tear in his rotator cuff. Lyon is going to rehab the rotator cuff tear without surgery.
Last night's action:
- It was another late-inning adventure in St. Louis, but this time the Redbirds came out on the winning end of the equation: down 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, the Cardinals erupted for four runs, with the big blow coming from the suddenly (and surprisingly) rejuvenated Lance Berkman, who cracked a three-run homer off Marlins' reliever Mike Dunn. Berkman has now hit 10 homers and driven in 32 runs on the season.
- Cincinnati's Homer Bailey was impressive in his 2011 debut, pitching six effective innings as the Reds romped over Houston, 10-4 (roger dodger). Cincinnati got to Astros' starter Brett Myers early and often, plating a run in the second, two in the fourth, another in the fifth, and two more in the sixth as Myers gave up nine hits and three walks in just 5.2 innings.
- Pittsburgh and Chicago had the day off.
On tap for today, it's CENTRALPALOOZA, as all six NL Central teams play their division bedfellows:
- St. Louis and Milwaukee renew hostilities for the first time in 2011 with a three-game series at Busch Stadium. First pitch tonight is scheduled for 7:15 p.m., with the Cards' Jaime Garcia (3-0, 2.48) facing Randy Wolf (3-2, 2.39) for the Crew.
- The Reds and Cubs begin a three-game series in Chicago at 1:20 p.m. CDT this afternoon. Cincinnati sends Edinson Volquez (2-1, 5.67) to the bump to match up with Chicago's Matt Garza (1-3, 3.96).
- Houston continues its Central swing with a trip through Pittsburgh. Tonight's game starts at 6:05 p.m. CDT and features the Astros' Wandy Rodriguez (1-3, 4.26) and the Pirates' Paul Maholm (1-4, 4.14).