Cards' Isringhausen done for season with hip injury

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen will miss the rest of the season because of a bad left hip.

The Cardinals said Isringhausen will have season-ending surgery on his left hip on

Isringhausen, who did not travel with the team to Milwaukee,
made the decision Tuesday after extensive consultation with several
hip specialists. The surgery will be performed by Dr. J. Thomas
Byrd in Nashville, Tenn.

"This certainly is a significant, serious situation at this point," Cardinals team physician George Paletta said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "But I wouldn't call it career-threatening. It may put part of next year in jeopardy, but I don't think it's at a point where it's career-threatening. It may compromise part of next year, depending on which one of those [surgical] options."

Paletta and general manager Walt Jocketty met Saturday and decided to shut Isringhausen down for the rest of the season after the closer had a discouraging bullpen session on Friday in his first attempt at throwing since a cortisone shot Monday.

Isringhausen has not pitched since Sept. 6, when he blew his career-high 10th save chance in 43 tries for the NL Central leaders.

The right-hander had hip surgery in October 2004 after posting a career-best 47 saves for the NL champions, and probably will need another operation. He's signed for next year and the Cardinals have an option for 2008.

"We haven't had a big sitdown," Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan said. "We've talked amongst ourselves about it."

Isringhausen, 4-8 with a 3.55 ERA in 59 games, was unavailable for comment. Trainer Barry Weinberg said Isringhausen left Busch Stadium before the end of Saturday's game.

Minus the 34-year-old Isringhausen, La Russa will go with a combination of Braden Looper, formerly a closer for the Marlins and Mets, and rookie Adam Wainwright.

Looper had 28 saves last year for New York and signed with the Cardinals as a setup man, and as late-inning insurance.

Looper, who had arthroscopic shoulder surgery in the offseason, is 9-1 with a 3.42 ERA and no saves in one chance this season. Wainwright, 25, acquired from the Braves in a deal for J.D. Drew in 2003, has one save in three opportunities.

Curiously, the Cardinals have not had a save opportunity in the nine games since Isringhausen was shut down. They're 5-4 in that span.

"Actually, I would like to win them all by a lot more than three runs," Duncan said. "I'm not anxiously awaiting a save situation, but when it comes we'll look at how the lineup stacks up and either Wainwright or Looper will probably be put in to get the save."

Wainwright made his first appearance in a week on Saturday, and he had a walk and a double-play ball before getting pulled. The Cardinals wanted left-hander Tyler Johnson to face Barry Bonds, who flied out, plus they wanted to conserve Wainwright in case he's needed Sunday.

Looper's victory total was tied for the major league lead among relievers and is the most for the Cardinals since Mark Petkovsek won 11 games in 1996. He has won six straight decisions and is 5-0 with a 2.83 ERA in 24 outings since the All-Star break.

Isringhausen has a team-record 173 saves in five seasons with St. Louis and 249 for his career.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.