St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny indicated Wednesday that pitcher Michael Wacha will not be a part of the team's rotation for its National League division series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Wacha, who won two games in last year's National League Championship Series matchup against Los Angeles, has made only four starts since being activated from the disabled list in September after suffering a stress reaction in his right shoulder. Matheny said Wacha will be used in the bullpen but did not provide specifics.
Over 107 innings this season, Wacha posted a 3.20 ERA with 94 strikeouts and 33 walks.
Matheny said he made the decision after "watching how the guys have been throwing. (Wacha) has progressively been getting better but this is a tough time of year (to) continue to work on things. But we like him in any situation. We even explained to him that there is a potential that (Wacha being in the bullpen) could change over time.
"He's just got to stay ready and be available in the 'pen. If we're fortunate enough to move forward, things could be different. But for right now, that's how he's going to be able to help us the best."
The decision, Matheny said, was based both on how Miller and, for that matter, Lackey, were doing and the fact that Wacha, who missed some 10 weeks with a stress reaction in his right shoulder, still was something of a work in progress.
"It's been a challenge for him, with the injury that he had and the time that it took," Matheny said. "It's already a difficult situation continuing to improve at this level and he has. Taking that much time makes it rough but he's made great adjustments.
"Right now, we've got to go with the guys we believe are going to give us our best shot."
The Cardinals finished with a 90-72 regular season record, while the Dodgers finished 94-68.