Cardinals utilityman Skip Schumaker drew the start in center field Monday night in Game 5 of the World Series, spelling a badly-slumping Jon Jay.
In Game 6, it will happen again.
According to B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa informed the media Wednesday afternoon at Busch Stadium that Schumaker will start in center field Thursday night against Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis.
Schumaker isn’t as talented defensively as Jay, nor does he have much experience playing center field, but he’s 7-for-14 this postseason with two doubles and four RBI. And he boasts a productive .301/.358/.393 career batting line against right-handed hitters. Beyond Allen Craig, who isn’t quite athletic enough to handle center, Schumaker represents St. Louis’ best option for offensive success at the position.
Jay will be available off the bench as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement. He was a late sub in Game 5.
La Russa also announced Wednesday that Nick Punto will start at second base in Thursday’s Game 6.
The Rangers outrighted reliever Shawn Tolleson off the 40-man roster on Wednesday. Rather than accept the assignment to Triple-A Round Rock, Tolleson has opted to become a free agent, Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake reports.
Tolleson, 28, emerged as a closer for the Rangers in 2015, but his follow-up campaign this year was dreadful. He finished with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He eventually went on the 60-day disabled list with a back injury.
Despite the nightmarish season, it’s easy to see a team deciding to take a flier on Tolleson for the 2017 season.
Indians slugger Carlos Santana hasn’t played in the outfield in a major league game since 2012, but the Indians are strongly considering starting him in left field for Game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field on Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. As the game is hosted in a National League park, there is no DH rule in effect, so the Indians might otherwise have to keep Santana on the bench.
Santana is hitless in six at-bats in the World Series thus far, but he has drawn two walks. He has overall not had a great postseason, carrying an aggregate .564 OPS in 40 plate appearances since the beginning of the playoffs. Still, during the regular season, he had an .865 OPS so he can certainly be a threat on offense at any given moment.