ST. LOUIS (AP) _ The St. Louis Cardinals added pitching help in the midst of a six-day stretch in which they will play seven games, recalling left-hander Randy Keisler from Triple-A Memphis on Friday.
It's Keisler's second stint with the team. In April, he compiled a 5.65 ERA with no record in three. He's 8-7 with a 4.43 ERA in 18 appearances, all but one of them starts, at Memphis, but will be used as a second left-hander in the team's bullpen.
The Cardinals began a four-game, three-day series with NL Central-leading Milwaukee on Friday night, with a day-night doubleheader scheduled for Saturday. Keisler can be used in long relief in case any of the games gets out of hand.
``We're playing four games in less than 48 hours,'' La Russa said. ``He'll be available wherever we need him.''
Rookie infielder Brendan Ryan was optioned to Memphis. Ryan, who is batting .339 with two home runs and five RBIs in 62 at-bats, could be the team's shortstop next year if David Eckstein leaves as a free agent.
Ryan has started at three positions, shortstop, second base and third base.
``This is a bonus year for him,'' La Russa said. ``He's gotten playing time before it was expected and he's played well.
``He knows that he's made a good impression and every time you come back it's another expression of our confidence in him, and his opportunity to get some experience.''
Another left-hander, reliever Tyler Johnson, may be ready soon. Johnson, on the 15-day disabled list since June 19 because of a biceps injury, will begin a rehab assignment this weekend.
Left-hander Mark Mulder threw out of the bullpen on Friday and is scheduled to leave for extended spring training in Florida when the homestand ends on Sunday. The Cardinals are being careful with Mulder, rehabbing from rotator cuff surgery last September.
``It's a reasonable track,'' La Russa said. ``I'm projecting that he take it one step at a time. All he knows is he's just got to do the very best at the next step and then go from there.''
Pitching coach Dave Duncan said Mulder likely would throw batting practice a few times and then proceed from there.
``I'm not looking for anything specific,'' Duncan said. ``You just look for continual progression of strength and control of his pitches.
``He's throwing all of his pitches, and they're all going to get better each time he goes out there.''