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Pitching injury update, August 11

The bad news is that the Cardinals report starting pitcher Jeff Suppan has a groin strain and his availability for his next start may be in question.

The good news is that Kyle Lohse pitched last night in Class AAA Memphis. And the results were much better than his last rehab start, possibly indicating that he's ready to return to the parent club.

Lohse threw seven innings against Reno and allowed on three hits and one run. He struck out nine and walked two.

Control was Lohse's major problem his previous two rehab starts. But he seemed to be over that Tuesday by keeping the ball in the strikezone -- and, more specifically, down and out of the middle of the strike zone.

Although he was understandably upset that he had to make a fourth rehab start, I hope Lohse realizes that the Cardinals couldn't afford to experiment in games that count when the race with the Reds is so close.

I hope the Cardinals keep Suppan around for the rest of the season. We're only three weeks away from the time when rosters can be expanded to 40 players. Suppan is a nice insurance policy should any of the Birds's starters suffer an injury the rest of the way. And he might have a role in the bullpen, too.

It was mentioned during the broadcast Tuesday night that Brad Penny continues to have problems with his back and shoulder and has stopped throwing. His return is in serious doubt.

Another Cardinals relief option could be Josh Kinney. Although he hasn't been up all season, Kinney is pitching well in Class AAA. He's 3-4 with a 2.22 ERA and in 44 2/3 innings pitched, he's only allowed 35 hits and 12 walks while striking out 43.