March 2007

Kinney concern

We still don’t have the info, MRI results, etc., on Josh Kinney yet, but TLR said some very striking things in this morning’s pregame briefing.

In response to a general question about bullpen injuries and depth, he made this comment about Kinney:

"Kinney, I think we need to be really patient with him, so I don’t even have him on the list right now. I’m not sure what the news is going to be, but I’m sure it’s significant enough to where he’s out for a while."

I followed up, asked if "a while" indicated that there was legitimate worry about Kinney’s availability for Opening Day. The response:

"Oh yeah. I’m worried about Opening Day with him. Absolutely."

Obviously as soon as we have more info, it’ll be on the site. But clearly this isn’t a good situation based on what the skipper knows right now.

-M.

 

Tommy gun, you ain't happy 'less you got one

We assorted media hordes had an interesting session with Dave Duncan today, and as always, it yielded some interesting insights. A good bit of it will appear in various stories on the site today — most notably topic No. 1, Josh Kinney, who doesn’t have Dunc all that worried.

But another subject that came up was that of Brad Thompson, whom we didn’t get to ask DD about yesterday. And he’s liked what he’s seen from Thompson. So have I — for my money, Thompson’s three innings on Sunday were the best pitching I’ve yet seen this spring, and nobody was any more impressive than he was in early drills.

The problem for Thompson, of course, is that he’s not one of the five incumbents, for lack of a better term. There are five guys who will have to be beaten out in order not to be in the rotation: Carpenter, Wells, Wainright, Reyes and Looper. Still, we asked Dunc about where Thompson fits in all that, considering how he pitched Sunday — aggressively, efficiently and down in the strike zone — and how he’s pitched all spring.

"I’ve been impressed with Thompson from the day he gotinto camp," Duncan said. "He came into camp in great shape, not only arm-wise but body-wise.
He’s a little thinner, and he’s in real good condition. His arm is in great
shape and he’s throwing the ball well through the practice sessions and in the
game."

So I asked more specifically about Thompson’s place in the competition. And there were a couple of telling things in the response. One, Thompson still has to beat someone out in order to crack the rotation. Two, the other challengers are Ryan Franklin and Randy Keisler. If Chris Narveson and Troy Cate were ever seriously in the starting mix, it doesn’t appear that they are now. Here’s the response:

"We were planning on giving him a strong opportunity in
that role. And I think what it does is you compare him as much with the other
guys that are kind of competing against who I consider the top five candidates.
You’ve got Thompson, you’ve got Franklin and you’ve got Keisler who are all
going to get a look. But if there’s a time in there where you have to say does
Thompson get the innings or does Keisler or Franklin get the innings, those are
the two guys that he would earn his priorities over before the other guys.

"What could potentially happen is that somewhere along the
line we may need a B game and have to schedule one, and we may start the other
guy in the B game and let Thompson start the A game. That would be how it would
happen."

Basically, Thompson is a guy to watch. But he’ll have to keep forcing their hand in order to crack the rotation. First he’ll have to step clearly in front of Franklin and Keisler. Then he’ll have to top somebody in the Fave 5.

-M.

(currently playing on the iPod: Talking Heads, Sand in the Vaseline)

Quick update: Wilson back, many gone

A few things to update upon my arrival at camp this morning:

  • First, Preston Wilson is in the starting lineup for today’s game against the Astros, though he’s not in the outfield — he’s the designated hitter.

  • Second, no Adam Kennedy yet, and Kennedy isn’t listed on the travel roster for Fort Lauderdale tomorrow.

  • Third, there are a bunch of cuts today — at least eight, based on how many lockers have been cleared out. It’s not officially announced yet, but it’s safe to say that if your locker has been cleared out, you’re headed over to Minor League camp. Pitchers Chris Lambert, Mike Parisi, Mike Sillman and Mark Worrell are gone, as are catchers Michel Hernandez, Ryan Christianson, Danilo Sanchez and Bryan Anderson. That’s not necessarily all the moves; we could have more names announced when they officially release the list, but those are the ones who are gone now.

I’ll have more on all of it as the day goes on.
-M.

Yeah. Did you get the memo?

You may have noticed a slight difference in some of the injury coverage not only here at MLB.com but in general this spring. Whereas in the past, you could always expect a quote from head athletic trainer Barry Weinberg on the day a player got hurt, this year that’s not the case.

There’s a reason for that. As laid out nicely and succinctly by Will Carroll a couple of months ago, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement has a provision that limits the information flow to media about player injuries. Each club will designate a representative to present information. In the Cardinals’ case, it will be the media relations office — so we got a news release on David Eckstein’s injury the day it was revealed, but Barry was not made available.

On Saturdays, we’ll be getting regular updates from the head team physician, Dr. George Paletta — as was the case yesterday, when the Doc briefed us on nine different players. It remains to be seen exactly how all of this will shake down in terms of coverage, but it’s definitely a new way of doing things. Hopefully the coverage will not suffer; that will certainly be the goal.

There is some gray area, by the way, because medical reports and diagnoses are not the only valuable information when it comes to a player’s injury. What you typically really want to know is, how does this affect the player from a baseball perspective? And so the questions of what the injured player is allowed to do in practices or workouts, whether he’s game-ready, things like that, can and will still be answered by the manager or the pitching coach or other staff members. And of course the player can say whatever he wants, so that can be helpful in some cases.

Just something to be aware of and watch for as we go through this season and the remainder of the new CBA.

-M.

(currently playing on the iPod: Pearl Jam, Pearl Jam)

Quick update: Eckstein out

David Eckstein is dealing with some soreness in his side, apparently similar to or near where he had his oblique injury last year. He’s not in the lineup, with Aaron Miles at short and Edgar Gonzalez at second base, and TLR said they’re taking the condition pretty seriously — said he’s more concerned about Eckstein thanabout Kennedy’s similar injury.

I’ll have a story shortly, and I’ll flesh it out later in the day.

-M.

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