ST. LOUIS (AP) -One loss into what was viewed as a crucial seven-game homestand against the two teams they're chasing, St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was already musing about players who might be attractive at the trade deadline.
Outfielder Juan Encarnacion and closer Jason Isringhausen are likely to draw interest among the defending World Series champions, who were near sell mode on Wednesday. St. Louis was 45-51 and in third place in the NL Central, nine games behind the Brewers.
La Russa said that he didn't believe the clubhouse would ``look different at all'' after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. ``I think we're going to win enough to stay alive,'' he said.
But the manager is a realist, too. The Cardinals have been decimated by injuries and are so short on starting pitching that Anthony Reyes, who has lost 12 straight decisions, will be recalled from Triple-A Memphis to make a start during a doubleheader against Milwaukee on Saturday.
The Cardinals made it to the postseason seven times in La Russa's first 11 seasons. Going into this season they had won 58 percent of their games this decade.
Now he's filling lineup cards with unknowns, had ace pitcher Chris Carpenter for only one start, and has a rotation with three members' ERAs above 5.
``This hasn't been all that much fun,'' La Russa said. ``I feel good about the guys, but we're not having as much fun.''
St. Louis would like to find a taker for Encarnacion, in the second year of a three-year, $15 million deal. Encarnacion, who missed the first six weeks after offseason wrist surgery, had two homers, 13 RBIs and a .326 average in July.
``The outfielders are picking it up,'' La Russa said. ``Juan's had a big six weeks, two months.''
Isringhausen had 19 saves in 21 chances, and was almost untouchable at home with a 0.47 ERA in 17 appearances, allowing one earned run on eight hits in 19 innings in a successful comeback from hip surgery that knocked him out of the postseason last fall.
Reliever Russ Springer would be another trade candidate, with a 2.92 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 37 innings. But the team could be reluctant to deal Springer given that his autistic son is enrolled in a special school in St. Louis, one of the reasons he signed with the team. Springer has also hinted at retirement if he was dealt.
``I know how this organization works and they're going to be very aware of why Russ came here in the first place,'' La Russa said. ``Unless you offer somebody that's just a can't-miss, can't-turn-a-deal-down, there would need to be some humanity.
``Plus, we need him. We want to win some games down the stretch.''
La Russa said he wouldn't call a meeting because he thought that would attach too much significance to the situation.
``Everybody is talking about this week and if we can win some games,'' La Russa said. ``We get to the end of the week, first of next week, there'll be some speculation.''

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