Scott Rolen does not intend to let a sore left knee keep him out of the lineup.
Rolen, who leads the majors with 80 RBIs, said his knee has been bothering him for about a month. An MRI taken Tuesday revealed irritation in the joint.
“He’s handling it all right, and it’s actually getting a little better,” Cardinals trainer Barry Weinberg said. “He’s pretty active so he roughs it up a little bit and it flames up, and then it quiets down.”
Rolen said he and Dr. George Paletta, the Cardinals’ physician, discussed a series of injections that would cushion the knee. But he’s holding off, at least for now.
Rolen has played more than any Cardinal, starting all but two of St. Louis’ games. He said the knee mostly bothers him on the basepaths.
“I just think he’s not the type that’s going to sit around and give a lot of complaints,” Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. “I don’t think he’s 100 percent, but 100 percent for him is super.
“A little less than that and you’re still doing really well compared to everybody else.”
Rolen went 1-for-3 with a run in the Cardinals’ 5-3 win over the Reds on Tuesday.
Jim Edmonds hit a solo homer, and Edgar Renteria hit a go-ahead, two-run shot in the seventh inning as the Cardinals won their fifth straight. They have had two winning streaks of six games this season.
The NL Central-leading Cardinals, who have outscored their opponents 30-8 in the first five games of their nine-game homestand, extended their lead to five games over the second-place Chicago Cubs.
Ken Griffey Jr. was 3-for-4 with a three singles for the Reds, who have lost seven of 10. Griffey is 8-for-41 (.195) with one RBI in 11 games since hitting his 500th homer on June 20 against the Cardinals in St. Louis.