Mild groin strain could force Pineiro to miss next start

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals pitcher Joel Pineiro, who was bypassed in the rotation Tuesday because of a strained right groin, is also questionable for his next start.

After a day off, Braden Looper pitched on regular rest on Tuesday night against the Houston Astros. Pineiro is next scheduled to pitch on Saturday.

Pineiro, 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA in eight starts, is supposed to throw a side session on Wednesday. On Tuesday, he was hoping another day of therapy would allow him to do so, while guessing that he could also throw a bullpen session on Thursday with the same effect.

"I can go out there and play catch nice and easy," Pineiro said. "But sometimes when you want to test it out you feel that slight twinge."

Pineiro was injured shagging fly balls during batting practice last Wednesday in San Diego, a day after his last start. An examination on Tuesday by Dr. George Paletta, the team physician, revealed what the pitcher said was a mild strain.

"I think his Saturday start is a question," manager Tony La Russa said. "I think we'll just wait and get more information. Today's Tuesday and that's Saturday."