The Cardinals signed the 35-year-old Suppan Monday and plan to start him Tuesday night against Seattle. Brad Penny (upper back) might not return from the 15-day disabled list until the All-Star break and Kyle Lohse (forearm) is on the 60-day DL.
"It was a lot of emotions and I was just going to wait and see what happened, to be honest with you," Suppan said. "But I'm glad it worked out and I'm very happy to be here."
Suppan was cut by Milwaukee last week after going 0-2 with a 7.84 ERA, making only two starts to start the season before moving to the bullpen. He was MVP of the 2006 NL championship series while with the Cardinals and also was a member of the rotation that got swept by the Red Sox in the '04 World Series, posting career-best 16-win seasons in '04 and '05.
Suppan's first game in his return to the Cardinals, also his first start since Game 4 of the '06 World Series, will be at home against the Mariners. He was issued uniform number 37, the same as he wore in his first stint with the team.
Though he's 135-137 for his career, the right-hander was 44-26 in three seasons with St. Louis. Manager Tony La Russa said Suppan got the thumbs-up from pitching coach Dave Duncan after a bullpen session during the weekend.
"The arm had life, and they were together for a long time," La Russa said. "It's not dramatic but he tweaked him a little bit, so we're anxious to send him out there.
"He could really give us a lift if he's right."
Suppan said he had trouble adjusting to pitching out of the bullpen with the Brewers, and altered his delivery over time.
"A lot of it was staying tall, which has always been a foundation for me," he said. "I don't know how I wasn't doing it, but I guess it just kind of crept in there.
"So they were simple things that I felt very good about after just one bullpen."
Rookie right-hander Adam Ottavino, who was 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA in three starts, was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.
Earlier this season, La Russa moved Holliday to third ahead of Albert Pujols in an attempt to get the Cardinals' big free-agent pickup going. Holliday was 3 for 22 on the trip and was batting .289 with six homers and 25 RBIs overall.
La Russa said he didn't discuss the move with Holliday.
"I've done it forever," the manager said. "When things aren't working, do something else. The key to this one is just getting Matt in front of Albert."