Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

NL Central Watch: Sept. 3

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Here's a quick glance at what's happening around the National League Central.

Whenever Brewers ace Ben Sheets has even the slightest injury, alarms sound in Milwaukee. He left his last start Monday after five innings, complaining of a groin strain. Though Sheets was still feeling some tightness Tuesday, he said he expects to make his next scheduled start Saturday against the San Diego Padres. You can bet Brewers fans will be watching that outing closely. He's already at 179 innings, the most Sheets has pitched since a career-high 237 in 2004. Meanwhile, right-hander Yovani Gallardo threw a 50-pitch simulated game Tuesday and is recovering quicker than expected from surgery to repair a torn ACL. Getting Gallardo back would be a huge boost for the Brewers, though they realize his arm likely will only be able to handle relief duty.

Adam Wainwright gave the Cardinals the boost they have needed from the rotation. Wainwright has allowed four earned runs and 16 hits in 17 1/3 innings during his three starts since coming off the disabled list. In this same game story, we see that former rotation ace Chris Carpenter made first relief appearance since Oct. 1, 2000, pitching a scoreless seventh inning against the Diamondbacks. Meanwhile, the Cards' pitching plans for next season might have already take a hit now that promising left-hander Jaime Garcia is weighing ligament replacement surgery.

Lost amid all the concern at Wrigley Field over Carlos Zambrano's latest arm woes was the fact the Astros stayed red-hit, winning their seventh consecutive game. They have 73 victories -- matching their win total for all of last season -- and might have saved manager Cecil Cooper's job.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris De Luca published on September 3, 2008 10:26 AM.

Z's arm the latest curse? was the previous entry in this blog.

Cubs still have Mar-key is the next entry in this blog.

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