The Cardinals seem likely to have to absorb another injury after rookie starting pitcher Shelby Miller was hit by a line drive two pitches into his club's Wednesday night game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Miller seemed to be hit just above his pitching elbow and was in obvious pain and was immediately pulled from the game. X-rays indicated that Miller's arm wasn't fractured. But he's likely to miss at least a start as bruising heals.
It's an unacceptable risk to send a pitcher at the start of a promising career out to the hill when he's less than 100 percent. If he alters his motion to spare stress on a sore elbow, he's at risk of injuring another joint that will have to handle the extra stress, most likely his shoulder.
The Cardinals seemed to quickly make the safe rather than sorry move by moving up Thursday's scheduled starter Jake Westbrook instead of burning up the bullpen. (Being sorry that Westbrook completely stunk things up on the mound is a different story.) By moving up Westbrook, the Cardinals are in position to call up Class AAA pitcher Carlos Martinez to a third stint in the big leagues. His turn to pitch in the Memphis rotation is Thursday.
While it was painful to be without one of the Cardinals' best hurlers on a night when the Reds and Pirates won their games, the smart move is to look at the big picture and make sure Miller is healthy before he gets thrown back into the mix.