(Busch Stadium) The certainty of pitcher Mike Leake making his scheduled start on Saturday for the St. Louis Cardinals is now in question.

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“That’s one of the options,” answered Mike Matheny before tonight’s game. “We’re not completely certain what we’re going to do right there, but Mike’s certainly in that.”

Prospect Jack Flaherty pitched last night for Memphis (AAA) and would be on regular rest to start again Saturday, but Matheny did not want to address if a player not currently on the roster could be in consideration.

“We’re just not going to go into all of that–just trying to get all the information and make the best decision when that time gets here,” he said.

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But the manager did share the Cardinals “think so–to the best of our knowledge” that Leake is healthy. That perhaps raises more concern as to the drop off in the veteran right-hander’s of late.

Over his last nine starts, Leake has completed just 41.0 innings and has given up 42 runs on 71 hits during that span. Batters have hit .380 against him and he has 28 strikeouts and 12 walks.

By contrast, Leake threw 106.0 innings in his first 16 starts this season and held opponents to a .238 batting average. He allowed 37 runs while striking out 72 batters with 23 walks.

“I think early on it was very impressive with the hard, late movement, and precision,” said Matheny. “He was putting the ball exactly where he wanted to and it was running both ways. He was doing whatever he wanted to with the baseball whenever he wanted to do it.”

Besides the option of Flaherty, Dakota Hudson is scheduled to pitch on Friday for Memphis and could be pushed back a day or the Cardinals could also simply skip a turn in the rotation for Leake.

photo credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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