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The Cardinals are expected to add 2011 first round pick, Kolten Wong, to the roster in time for today's game in Chicago against the Cubs. Wong hit.303 with 10 hime runs and 45 RBIs in 107 games with Triple-A Memphis this season.  The Cardinals optioned outfielder Adron Chambers last night to make room for Wong on the roster.  Speculation is that Matt Carpenter could move to third base while Wong starts at second.  David Freese was replaced in the seventh inning of yesterday's win against Pittsburgh. 

Friday, 16 August 2013 08:04
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis wide receiver Austin Pettis is still struggling with the old man tag.

At age 25 and with two years' experience, Pettis is the grizzled veteran of the Rams' receiving corps, which is the youngest in the NFL.

"Never really thought of myself in that way because I'm still young," Pettis said. "It's fun being a leader to some of the younger players. But I'm not that old."

Pettis is the leader, at least in teams of experience and age, to a group that includes rookies Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey and second-year players Brian Quick and Chris Givens.

St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford has a quintet of speedy targets and Pettis is the most tenured of the group.

"He's taking a bigger role," Bradford said of Pettis. "Plus, he's got the experience to help everyone else out there."

Pettis, who was drafted in the third round of the 2011 draft, caught 57 passes for 517 yards in his first two seasons, but was never a main target playing behind Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson.

Now, the former Boise State standout is being asked to take a much large role while the younger receivers learn the ropes.

Austin, the Rams' first-round draft choice and eighth overall selection out of West Virginia, has picked Pettis' brain during the first few weeks of training camp.

Pettis remembers what it was like to learn the complex offense during his first two seasons. And he is happy to share his knowledge.

"I know it was a hard experience for me, so I know what a lot of these guys are going through," Pettis said. "I've helped them with a lot of stuff and as long as they keep on asking me, I'm happy to help out."

Pettis closed out the 2012 campaign on a roll with touchdown catches in his last two games. He caught five passes in back-to-back contests against Buffalo and Minnesota in Weeks 14 and 15. He scored the Rams' lone touchdown in a season-ending 20-13 loss in Seattle.

Pettis left Boise State holding school records in career receptions (229) and touchdowns (39).

He caught 27 passes in a 12-game rookie season that was marred by a suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He sat out the final two games of 2011 and the first two contests in 2012.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 203-pounder is known for his skills close to the goal line. All four of his TD catches have come in the red zone.

Pettis enters this season with high expectations. After a pair of solid campaigns, he feels it is time to break out. Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer says Pettis had a strong off-season and big things are expected from him this time around.

"I've been waiting for this moment for a while," Pettis said. "It was just a matter of time until all the things clicked and I think that's happening now. We've got a lot of weapons on this team and I think the ball is going to be spread around a lot.

I just want to be part of it."

Pettis is impressed with what he's seen from the younger wide outs. Austin and fellow West Virginia product Bailey, a third-round selection, have looked good. Bailey caught two passes for 27 yards in a 27-19 loss at Cleveland last Thursday.

"Honestly, we're a pretty confident group right now in the locker room and I don't mean that in a bad way," Pettis said. "We've put in a lot of work and a lot of time. We're just excited to go out there and show the rest of the league what we can do.

Even though we're young, we've got a lot of smart guys and a lot of talented guys."

Most of the St. Louis players were given Wednesday off. Fisher held a special-teams only practice in the afternoon. A full-squad workout, open to the public, was held Thursday.

The Rams host Green Bay on Saturday night.

Friday, 16 August 2013 07:58
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Just a few days ago, the St. Louis Cardinals had no wins when trailing after eight innings and just one extra-inning victory.

They certainly showed the Pittsburgh Pirates they can go the extra mile.

"We did a good job of bouncing back," said Matt Holliday, who hit a game-ending RBI single in the 12th inning of St. Louis' 6-5 victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday. "Winning this game could be very important for us."

Matt Carpenter had four hits and scored the winning run in the Cardinals' second extra-inning triumph over the NL Central leaders in three days.

"Anytime having a walk-off win, it's a big deal," manager Mike Matheny said. "Jumping on it again it today is just the resiliency of this club.

"You could sense it on the bench. The guys weren't going to give in, weren't going to stop pushing."

The Cardinals took two of three in the series to pull within two games of the sagging Pirates, who have dropped five of six. St. Louis won 4-3 in 14 innings in the opener on Tuesday night.

"We had a number of guys that had opportunities," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "The great thing about what we're going through is the challenge and opportunities we're all getting.

"It's playoff atmosphere baseball."

The Cardinals lost the division lead when they dropped four of five in Pittsburgh from July 29-Aug. 1.

Rookie Kevin Siegrist (1-1), St. Louis' seventh pitcher, struck out two in a perfect 12th against the heart of the order.

Russell Martin and Clint Barmes homered for Pittsburgh, which blew a 4-0 lead in one inning. Jose Tabata had three straight hits after entering as a pinch hitter.

Carpenter sparked the winning rally with a one-out walk. He went to third on Jon Jay's single before Holliday grounded a single up the middle off Bryan Morris (5-6).

Carpenter, the Cardinals' leadoff man, leads the National League with 48 multihit games and 40 doubles. He entered with league-leading averages of .366 at home and .367 in day games.

Holliday also had an RBI double and is batting .452 during a 12-game hitting streak.

Martin hit a tying leadoff drive off Trevor Rosenthal in the eighth, handing the setup man his second blown save of St. Louis' 4-6 homestand.

The Pirates hit for the cycle against Lance Lynn in a four-run fifth that featured rookie Andrew Lambo's first hit and RBI on a double and Barmes' two-run homer. The Cardinals responded by knocking out A.J. Burnett with five runs in the bottom half on a two-run single by Daniel Descalso and RBIs in consecutive at-bats from Carpenter, Jon Jay and Holliday.

"As good as it looked early, it's never easy against this group," Burnett said. "They figured me out early."

Both managers put a heavy stamp on the game. Hurdle hit for two regulars in the sixth and emptied his bench, and Matheny used three relievers in the sixth and seventh.

St. Louis activated All-Star catcher Yadier Molina from the 15-day disabled list, and he announced his presence almost immediately. He threw out Starling Marte trying to steal third to end the first.

NOTES: The Pirates begin a three-game homestand Friday against the Diamondbacks. Pittsburgh rookie Gerrit Cole (5-5, 3.95 ERA), who opposes Brandon McCarthy (2-6, 4.73 ERA) in the opener, has lost five of his last six decisions. ... The Cardinals open a three-game series at Chicago, with St. Louis' Jake Westbrook (7-7, 4.11 ERA) opposing minor league callup Jake Arrieta. It will be Westbrook's first appearance since giving up nine runs in 4 2-3 innings of relief on three days' rest after Shelby Miller was knocked out by a liner off his elbow on his second pitch of the game. ... Cardinals reliever Seth Maness, who grounded into a double play and struck out to strand five runners Tuesday night, got his first career hit in the sixth. ... Pirates reliever Tony Watson worked three scoreless innings and retired the heart of the order in the 10th.

Friday, 16 August 2013 07:52
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COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is going with senior James Franklin to start at quarterback for the Tigers.

Pinkel said Franklin, who was dogged by injuries last season, beat out redshirt freshman Maty Mauk for the job. He felt it was important to make an announcement well ahead of the Aug. 31 opener against Murray State.

"James has shown that he's very capable of leading this team at a high level, and we fully expect him to do that," Pinkel said Thursday night in a release. "He's really developed as a leader of this offense, and of this team, and we feel he's ready to be the difference-maker he was before all of the health challenges he dealt with last season."

Pinkel added the coaching staff is considering giving Mauk planned series in games to give him experience. Sophomore Corbin Berkstresser started four games last year when Franklin was sidelined and also had been in the competition.

Three former Missouri quarterbacks are in the NFL. Franklin is among those who got regular work as the backup, seeing limited playing time in 2010 behind Blaine Gabbert, now with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Future Heisman Trophy finalist and New Orleans Saints backup Chase Daniel got his feet wet backing up Brad Smith, a longtime wide receiver in the NFL.

"We have a history with that, and it's something that has worked very well for us," Pinkel said.

Franklin opened fall workouts atop the depth chart and was named one of four captains on the first day of practice. Pinkel emphasized repeatedly at that point that the honor did not guarantee the starting job.

Injuries to Franklin were among the disappointments last year as Missouri went 5-7, ending a string of eight consecutive bowl appearances.

Franklin had 10 touchdown passes and seven interceptions last season, and rushed for 116 yards and two scores. In 2011, he had 21 touchdown passes with 11 interceptions, and rushed for 981 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Friday, 16 August 2013 07:50
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