ST. LOUIS -- Jason Isringhausen insisted on Wednesday that his physical health is just fine. But he's perfectly willing to take a couple of mental health days after a rough stretch.
Isringhausen, who was a perfect 10-for-10 in save chances in May, has hit a rough stretch in June. He's walked five batters over three appearances, allowed five runs and been charged with two blown saves in three chances. Isringhausen said there's no ailment, but that he's been somewhat tired after a heavy recent workload.
He was unavailable to pitch on Tuesday night, and manager Tony La Russa said Wednesday that he would prefer to not use the closer again on Wednesday. That's fine with Isringhausen.
"It's nice just to sit back and relax and watch and get ready for Friday in Milwaukee," he said. "Get back to the basics of trying to throw strikes. ... My mind goes everywhere when I get out there. As soon as you throw a ball, you hear people screaming and yelling. So I want to get out there and get back to the basics of pounding the strike zone and throwing the ball to the glove and work things that way."
Isringhausen admits that he's gotten a little too cutter-happy and that he's been guiding the ball too much recently. He professed a desire to return to pitching fundamentals -- getting ahead with his fastball and putting hitters away with pitches around the edges of the strike zone.
The right-hander has not been shy about his willingness to pitch around dangerous hitters in order to get more favorable matchups, but he admits that tactic may need to go out the window, at least for the time being.
"It has to," he said. "I want to get back to pitching to contact. I want to make them put the ball in play. Right now I'd much rather give up four or five singles than go out there and walk three guys and give up a double and then three runs score. I'd feel much better about myself if I did that than going out there walking everybody. That's where I'm getting frustrated. I've never walked that many guys in my life."
Duncan starts in outfield: For the first time in 2006, Chris Duncan started in the outfield on Wednesday night. Duncan's only previous start this year came as the designated hitter against the Royals in Kansas City.
"I am excited about it," said the rookie, who is the son of pitching coach Dave Duncan. "Since I was the DH in Kansas City, it's the first time I have gotten a chance to go out there and play."
Duncan has been working on his defense in the outfield after beginning his professional career as a first baseman. Sometime around 2004, when a fellow named Pujols settled in permanently at first, it became clear that Duncan might need a different career path. Hence, the outfield, and particularly right field.
"I feel a lot more comfortable there," Duncan said. "I have been playing first my whole life, so I feel comfortable playing on that side of the field."
Suppan steps up again: Cards right-hander Jeff Suppan and his wife, Dana, announced on Wednesday that they will once again donate to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. The Suppans will give $50 for every strikeout he records, and Cardinals Care will match the donations. Last year, they raised a combined $12,740 with the program.
The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund benefits the families of those who have lost their lives serving in the United States military.
This date in Cardinals history: On June 7, 2002, the Cardinals unloaded on Paul Byrd and Brad Voyles in support of a somewhat shaky Darryl Kile in a 12-6 thrashing of the Royals in Kansas City. St. Louis racked up 17 base hits, including four by Tino Martinez.
Baby 'Birds: Triple-A Memphis got a fine start from Dennis Tankersley (two runs on eight hits over seven innings, three strikeouts, two walks), but lost to New Orleans, 3-1, on Tuesday. Brian Daubach and Kevin Estrada had two hits each. ... Chris Lambert had a rough game (seven runs, six hits, three walks, three Ks over 4 1/3 innings) in Double-A Springfield's 11-4 loss to Wichita. Reid Gorecki hit his 12th home run. ... Class A Palm Beach rallied for two runs in the eighth, forcing extra innings, but lost to St. Lucie, 4-3, in 12. Leading the way offensively were Joe Mather, with three hits including a home run, and Juan Lucena, also with three hits. ... Casey Rowlett, who entered Class A Quad Cities' as a pinch-runner in the 10th inning, hit a walk-off two-run homer in the 12th in a 2-0 win over Cedar Rapids. Trey Hearne pitched seven shutout innings with three hits, no walks and seven strikeouts.
Rowlett is the player of the day thanks to his game-ender for the only runs in a 12-inning contest. Rowlett, 23, was the Cardinals' 32nd-round draft pick out of the University of Arkansas last year.
Coming up: The Cardinals have an off-day on Thursday before beginning a week-long road trip on Friday. Mark Mulder will be hoping to emerge from a slump when he takes the mound against the Brewers and lefty Jorge De La Rosa. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT at Miller Park.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.