The Cardinals are now hoping the 16-year veteran can be a stopgap for an injury-depleted starting rotation.
Suppan will make his first start for St. Louis in over four years Tuesday night when the Cardinals continue a three-game series against the lowly Seattle Mariners.
St. Louis (35-29) signed Suppan (0-2, 7.84 ERA) on Monday one week after he was cut by Milwaukee. The right-hander made only two starts at the beginning of the year before moving to the bullpen.
Although Suppan is 135-137 in his career, he went 44-26 in three seasons with the Cardinals from 2004-06 and was instrumental to their 2006 World Series title. After being named the NLCS MVP, Suppan’s last appearance for St. Louis came in Game 4 of the ’06 Series, when he allowed three runs in six innings of a 5-4 win over Detroit, but didn’t receive a decision.
The Cardinals are hoping the 35-year-old can rediscover this success after being reunited with pitching coach Dave Duncan.
The highly respected Duncan gave St. Louis the go-ahead in signing Suppan after the two had a bullpen session over the weekend.
“The arm had life, and they were together for a long time,” Tony La Russa said. “It’s not dramatic but he tweaked him a little bit, so we’re anxious to send him out there.
“He could really give us a lift if he’s right.”
St. Louis is in need of some stable pitching from the back of its rotation with Brad Penny(notes) (upper back) possibly out until the All-Star break and Kyle Lohse(notes) (forearm) on the 60-day disabled list. The three starters used by the Cardinals in Penny and Lohse’s absence are a combined 1-3 with an 8.23 ERA in six starts.
Suppan, who hasn’t started since yielding six runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings of the Brewers’ 8-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs on April 23, is 2-4 with a 7.03 ERA in 15 career starts against the Mariners, but hasn’t faced them since 2004.
Even if Suppan struggles in his 2010 St. Louis debut, the Cardinals should be fine if they can replicate their performance from Monday’s 9-3 series-opening victory.
After totaling 19 runs during a 1-5 trip, La Russa juggled his lineup, batting Matt Holliday(notes) second for the first time this season and pitcher Adam Wainwright(notes) eighth. The move paid off, as the Cardinals pounded out 12 hits. Holliday had two hits and scored twice, Albert Pujols(notes) singled three times and walked twice and new cleanup hitter Ryan Ludwick(notes) hit his 11th homer and drove in four.
“It doesn’t matter where he puts us, you’ve got to perform,” Pujols said. “We know that we have to get it going.”
St. Louis looks to build on this outing against Ryan Rowland-Smith(notes) (0-5, 6.62), who gave up a career-high 11 hits and eight runs - four earned - in 5 2-3 innings of a 12-3 loss to Texas on Thursday. It was the fifth time in seven starts the left-hander yielded at least five runs.
The Mariners (24-40) have lost nine of 11, batting .239 with four home runs during that span.
Ichiro Suzuki(notes) hit his 31st career leadoff homer Monday and Seattle added another first-inning run for a 2-0 lead, but the team plated just one more run the rest of the way to fall to 4-31 when scoring three or fewer.