With Todd Wellemeyer and Adam Wainwright the latest Cardinals pitchers to go on the disabled list, coach Dave Duncan has been asked to rush injured Mark Mulder back into action, no small task given the fact the Mulder has lost 5-6 mph off his fastball and has been repeatedly hammered in a number of minor league rehabilitation starts.
Still, the Cardinals are running out of bodies, so Mulder will be brought back -- perhaps as soon as Tuesday -- with the benefit of a special, Dave Duncan miracle plan that calls for a crew of orderlies from the Barnes Jewish Hospital Trauma Center to stand by to unload Mulder out of the back of the ambulance, place him onto a gurney and roll him out to the mound.
Because Mulder will be a pitch count of, oh, say seven, he will dispense with pregame warmup tosses in order to save his stamina to go deeper into the game. Catcher Yadier Molina will be given the responsibility of placing the ball in Mulder's hand and closing his fingers around it, then pointing him in the direction of the plate.
An extra supply of new balls will be on hand because it is expected that Mulder will quickly dirty and scuff them as most of his pitches will hit the dirt about 10 feet in front of the plate. Communication between Mulder and the dugout will be strictly limited to hand signals to the third base coaching box, as Manager Tony LaRussa's two mound visits must be used to check Mulder's pulse, replace his intravenous saline solution bottle and wipe the spittle from the front of his uniform.
At the conclusion of Mulder's appearance, the Cardinals will attempt to persuade the Triple A Memphis Redbirds to take him back, a difficult task because the Redbirds have already twice sent him back to Double A Springfield.