Scott Rolen working his way back from shoulder surgery

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Scott Rolen has already missed five weeks following shoulder surgery that was initially expected to sideline him 4-6 weeks, but the third baseman with a lengthy history of shoulder problems said yesterday that he remains hopeful about playing again this season.

Rolen spent the weekend fielding ground balls and taking swings in the batting cage, telling Jeff Wallner of MLB.com that he’s “close to getting back on the field” and “not too far away.”

He hit just .242 with five homers and a .676 OPS in 65 games before the surgery, but Rolen explained that going under the knife has strengthened his shoulder. Because the Triple-A seasons ends later this week a rehab assignment may not be an option by the time Rolen is ready for game action and he hasn’t faced live pitching since July 20.

Cardinals move Luke Weaver to the bullpen

Luke Weaver
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Cardinals right-hander Luke Weaver has been reassigned to the bullpen, manager Mike Shildt announced Sunday. Fellow righty Daniel Poncedeleon will take his spot in the rotation for the time being, though it’s still unclear whether Weaver’s demotion is a permanent one or not.

Still, it’s not the most surprising of moves, especially as the club advances toward a potential playoff berth in October. Weaver, 24, has struggled to find his groove this season after putting up a 6-11 record in 24 starts and a 4.67 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 125 1/3 innings in 2018. During two of his last three outings in August, he was pulled before the fifth inning, citing mechanical issues with his delivery that may be impacting his fastball location and delivery and having an adverse effect on his results — and those of the team — as well.

Poncedeleon, on the other hand, appears primed to take on more responsibility following an impressive run with the Cardinals this summer. He maintained a sub-3.00 ERA through his first six appearances, issuing four runs, nine walks, and 10 strikeouts over 17 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t handled more than one start in the big leagues, his track record in the minors speaks to his ability to get consistent results on the mound: he went 9-3 in 17 starts at Triple-A Memphis with a 2.15 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 across 92 innings. He’s scheduled to cover for Weaver on Tuesday against the Pirates and will presumably continue to pitch out of the rotation for the remaining six weeks of the season.